Tuesday, July 9, 2013 09:26:13

Review: Hexxagon Delivers Powerful Strategy Gameplay In an Unattractive Package

hexxagon

First things first: Hexxagon is not a pretty game, and that's being charitable. I mean, seriously, this is one game that needs a face-lift. So why am I even reviewing it? Well, I first found it on Amr Ayman's Games to Die For channel, where Amr said:

Hexxagon is a twist to Reversi-like turn based strategy board games. This version is packed with great levels and customizable themes.

hexxagon

Yes, this is not exactly a pretty game.

That sounded intriguing enough -- I like turn-based strategy, and I'm a sucker for games that feature hexagons (it's the most beautiful polygon ever -- seriously). So, I decided to take it for a spin.

Concept and Gameplay

Hexxagon is basically a board-game with a simple set of rules: You have one or more opponents. Each participant gets different tiles. Tap on a tile and the empty spot next to it, and the tile is "copied" to that spot -- you now have two tiles. Any enemy tiles adjacent to that spot are converted to your own tiles (you conquer them, basically).

hexxagon

This is what Hexxagon looks like when one side is clearly winning.

You can also "hop" a tile over, in which case it moves rather than creating a clone of itself. This means you're leaving a gap in your rows, and is a risky move indeed: An enemy tile based there will now conquer all of your own tiles.

This sounds complicated. In reality, it took me about 30 seconds to figure out the rules, and I was hooked. The AI is challenging, and like Amr says, the levels are great. Each level is actually a different board, requiring a different strategy to win. Combined with the AI's customizable power, you get a truly long-lasting game.

Graphics and Sound

hexxagon

I won! Hexxagon doesn't make this very easy, so when it happens, it's quite satisfying.

Well, those graphics... What can I say? Not only does Hexxagon feel completely foreign to Android, it isn't even pretty on its own. It's the game's one glaring sore spot. I really wish I could soften this, but Hexxagon is just not a pretty game. If the developer ever hires a designer to redo the game's graphics from scratch, it has the potential of being a truly explosive hit.

The soundtrack is a very monotonous string-based sound-bite that just keeps looping. Thankfully, you can just switch it off and focus on the game.

Final Thoughts

Many people judge games and apps by their screenshots, and that makes sense. But this is one case where you should just ignore the screenshots, install the game, and have a go. You will not be disappointed.