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Hexologic Review: A Short But Satisfying Puzzler

Hexologic is a casual puzzle game from indie studio MythicOwl. Based on Sudoku and Kakuro mechanics, it combines relaxing music and quirky visuals with gradually more complex puzzles.

The greatest thing about Hexologic is how it manages to introduce increasingly difficult mechanics while keeping the basic game the same. It combines this with relaxing music and nice visuals to create an engaging and calm experience.

How It Works

You start with a simple puzzle that requires you to place either 1, 2, or 3 dots in a hexagon. As the game progresses the hexagons form rows. Most of these rows will have a number at one end. All you do is combine different numbers of dots in each hexagon to ensure that the row totals the number shown. The row will become highlighted in green once you’ve done this, allowing you to more easily see where your mistakes are.

This 1,2 or 3 dot mechanic remains consistent throughout the entire game.

The basic mechanics are reminiscent of Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles, just slightly simplified and given a unique twist. The twist takes the form of extra mechanics, which are introduced every 15 levels. These mechanics include larger numbers in the pre-filled hexagons, as well as linked hexagons, which must display the same number in them all. Later levels also include mathematical symbols, including greater than and less than signs.

Difficulty

The game has a very good difficulty curve. By gradually increasing the mechanics, you don’t feel like you’ve suddenly been thrown off a cliff difficulty-wise. Although I did find the puzzles with the equations much more difficult than those that came after, it generally felt like new mechanics were eased in, rather than thrown in.

My only complaint was that there aren’t many levels, only 90 basic levels plus some bonuses, and they never get too tricky to solve. With each new mechanic, the first few levels are easy and mostly explain the new way of playing. This meant that it felt like I only had about 10 levels to really play with each mechanic before the game moved on to the next one.

For those who prefer a more difficult challenge, a hard mode will remove the green indicators, meaning you have to keep checking your math as you go along. However, the hard mode levels do appear to be almost identical to the normal levels, just flipping them or changing a couple of rows at most, which was disappointing. I didn't play through too many because of this, as I felt I'd get more out of them going back at a later date.

Graphics and Sound

Visually, the game is enjoyable to play through. I liked the different backgrounds, which change themes as you progress through each section and grow more complex as you beat more puzzles.

The soundtrack that accompanies the visuals has an elevator music feel. You can tell that it's been designed to be a chilled out puzzle game, rather than a challenging and frustrating one. The soundtrack is nothing special, but it's also not annoying, something which puzzle game music can often become.

The Menu

I have to pull out the menu as a complaint, as I struggled to navigate it. It looks simple, but I couldn't find things easily. For example, I had to go back into the game and hunt around to figure out where the bonus levels were and how to access them. Part of me still feels like I'm missing something, but if I am, I don't know how to find it. This surprised me, as the puzzles themselves are very intuitive.

The only other complaint I have is the length. I am not the best at puzzle games, but I still managed to complete it in just a couple of hours.

Connect The Dots

Overall, Hexologic is a nice, relaxing puzzler with some reasonable graphics and music. The difficulty curve is well thought out, but never reaches a very difficult stage. That said, the differing mechanics make the game engaging and interesting.

The main issue is that the menu can be a pain to navigate and the whole game, although well executed, is very short. It also doesn't offer much challenge for those who excel at this type of game.

I played the Xbox One version, but I’d be tempted to check out the Steam version, which is available for just a few dollars and has the added bonus of extra levels accessible through the Steam Workshop.

Score 4 Out of 5

A review copy of the game was provided to by TheGamer by MythicOwl. Hexologic is now available for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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