When it comes to puzzle video games, there’s a handful of tried and tested classics that have managed to break free from the world of browser games and other more traditional print-based avenues. Several variants of Mahjong have found their way onto consoles over the years, and wordsearches have also become popular in various forms too. One of the most popular games in the world has yet to see a changeup in its digital form; that’s where Hexologic comes in…
Developed by MythicOwl, Hexologic introduces an interesting new twist on the classic rules of Sudoku, where instead of a square grid, hexagons are used. In order to progress to the next level, players must combine the dots within these grids so that their sum matches the numbers that are highlighted at the edges. As the game progresses, the levels get trickier, and different factors get introduced, such as unchangeable grids which bumps up the difficulty somewhat.
This simple shakeup of such a well-known game makes Hexologic effectively easier for new players to pick up while retaining enough difficulty for puzzle fans who appreciate a challenge. There’s also an element of inclusiveness with the game’s lack of reliance on language. Removing the language barrier by using easy to understand symbols instead of text means that players of all ages and nationality can enjoy the game without having to wait for any translation updates.
Hexologic also boasts a very relaxing atmosphere, both in terms of visuals and audio. While the grids of the puzzles are somewhat simplistic and minimal, the backgrounds of each world between stages are beautifully detailed and colourful, with an interesting theme of underwater Aztec ruins and tropical rainforests. The accompanying soundtrack is a serene set of ambient soundscapes, that slowly builds up as each level is completed. The whole aesthetic of Hexologic makes the game feel quite meditative and peaceful, no matter how tricky some of the puzzles get.
This element of peacefulness is further implemented by letting players tackle the puzzles at their own pace, with no intrusive hint pop ups, scores or game timers to distract from the gameplay. This focused approach definitely sets Hexologic apart from its peers that rely on sketchy “freemium” models of gameplay, as it’s so much easier to become immersed in a puzzle game that doesn’t constantly bombard you with timeouts or “pay-to-win” messages.
While these aspects of Hexologic make it memorable, the game isn’t a perfect experience. Across Hexologic‘s 60 levels, things do start to feel a little bit repetitive pretty soon into the game. It’s a pitfall that this genre of puzzlers unfortunately falls into all too often, and while it succeeds for longer than other similar titles do, Hexologic is no exception to this drawback.
Overall, Hexologic is a great way to take a time out from today’s generally loud and explosion-filled gaming landscape. It offers a fresh take on the classic game of Sudoku with a dream-like atmosphere, easy to pick up (and tough to master) gameplay and some gorgeous artwork, but maybe best experienced in short bursts to keep things interesting.
- Relaxing ambient music.
- Vibrant, stylish backgrounds.
- Challenging, but not impossible.
- Plenty of levels to take on.
- Starts to feel a bit repetitive after a while.
Hexologic is available now on PC via Steam, iOS and Android, with a Nintendo Switch version arriving on June 12th.
A review code was kindly provided by the developer.