Developed By: MythicOwl
Published By: MythicOwl
Category: Puzzle, Logic
Release Date: 6.12.18
Sometimes all you want out of a game is a brain teaser to play around with. Hexologic for Nintendo Switch aims to be that game. It’s a solid spin on some Sudoku style math puzzles, but it’s a bit too limited to be interesting for long.
Adding Up To Fun
Hexologic has a simple enough premise. Players are presented with a grid of blank hexagons. At the end of some of the rows there is a number and an arrow. The player can place one, two, or three dots in each blank space. The rows that end in arrows must all add up to the number in the arrow. Where several rows with arrows intersect and cross, players must puzzle out the correct combination of numbers to make all of the rows work. The easiest way to figure it out is to find a row that only has one possible solution. For example, if there are two hexes and they must add up to six, then both hexes must be filled in with a three, as that is the only possible combination to get that number. These definite solutions are used as the base from which players can fill in the rest of the grid.
There are four different types of grids, which the game cycles through every fifteen puzzles. The first group of grids is just a straight-up blank grid; the player must fill in every number themselves. The second group introduces grids with a set value, and players must integrate that set value into their solutions. The third group introduces grids ringed with a certain color. Every grid with that color has the same value. So, if a player puts a three in a green-ringed hex, all hexes with a green ring are set to three. The final group of grids combine both of the previous two challenges for its puzzles, but doesn’t introduce anything new.
So there are those four groups of fifteen puzzles each for the base game, and as you progress past each group a special section of three ultra-challenging puzzles is unlocked. So, for four groups of three additional puzzles, that’s twelve, plus sixty of the regular puzzles makes seventy-two grid puzzles all together. That’s not a lot of puzzles, and it’s the game’s biggest weakness. I finished all seventy-two puzzles in around two hours, and then that’s pretty much it. There’s nothing else to do. I suppose at the price point two hours is a decent amount of time, but it is still disappointing for the game to be over so quickly. Hexologic has the potential to be a Solitaire style addictive casual game, but the lack of enough puzzles really holds it back.
The game has a really cool painted aesthetic to its background graphics which I like a lot. It’s a bright and colorful look that is really attractive when it’s around, anyway. When you’re solving a puzzle the screen is mostly dominated by blank white hex grids, which is kind of boring. The puzzle select screen takes players on a journey from the bottom of the ocean, through the jungle, and all the way to a castle in the clouds. It’s a pretty cool design that integrates some natural formations with Tiki idols. Overall, Hexologic is a pretty attractive-looking game. The music for the game is all right as well, but as background music it just kind of… well, fades into the background. It’s quiet and soothing, though, so it sets a good mood for concentrating on the puzzles.
Hexologic has no motion controls, but you can use the Switch’s touch screen in undocked mode. I found it more efficient to stick with the controller, because there was one button for each value. For the touch controls, touching a grid added one to its value. So, to get a grid to three dots, I had to tap it three times versus one touch of a button with the controller. It’s not that big of a deal, but I just found it more comfortable to use the Joycon. I didn’t think it looked better in one mode over another, though, so unless you really, really like touch controls, there’s no real advantage to playing docked or undocked.
TL;DR: Fun puzzles, but not nearly enough of them.