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iPhone: Hexxagon Labs--Puzzle nuts apply within

01-28-2009, 10:41 AM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,916
Hexxagon Labs--Puzzle nuts apply within

Hi and welcome to my Super Mon-- j/k

Seriously, though. I have a new obsession on my iPhone and wanted to share, as there seem to be no threads on this one yet and it deserves some love. I picked up Hexxagon Labs yesterday (thanks again to Arn for the great site--I never would have discovered this game otherwise) and I can't stop playing it.

Hexxagon Labs (HL for short from now on) is a territory capture game. Although it might look at first glance like, say, Othello, it really has just as much (or more) in common with a game like Go. To get an idea of the gameplay, there's a very similar flash game (not by the developer).

The board consists of hexagonal spaces (the board varies from level to level, more on this in a bit). You and your opponent start with a set configuration of pieces on the board and try to capture the most territory. Each turn, you can move a single piece in one of two ways: you may clone yourself to an adjacent hex while remaining where you started or you may jump two hexes away, removing yourself from the starting spot. Any enemy units next to your new location are converted to your color. That's it.

The game ends when there are no moves left or when only one combatant has moves remaining, in which case it will automatically fill in the territory they have blocked off (this is a very nice touch, IMO). You have to be really careful about letting yourself got boxed in too badly because you must play if you have a valid move. This can force you into jumping out of an important space, allowing your opponent to take it.

The games first three boards (not counting the tutorial levels) are easy enough, but the variations in the playfield (like bottlenecks and "missing" tiles you can jump across) quickly require you to learn when to keep your formations tight by cloning versus when to move quickly by jumping. The AI hammered me repeatedly on the 4th and 5th levels (and this is on easy difficulty) until I started playing more solidly. One note: the AI does NOT use the same exact moves every time (I actually won the 5th level when the AI got far more aggressive than it had been and I was able to take advantage). You can see level 6, "North and South", as screenshot 2 at the AppShopper link, above.

Then, at level 7, when I thought I was starting to get a grip on how to play, a third opponent showed up. While I freaked a bit at first, this can actually make things a bit easier if you can get the computer opponents to work against each other. Level 9, "Heart", is the 5th screenshot. There are a total of about 30 boards in all. Once you've beaten each, you can go back and play them at any time. There's a hotseat multiplayer mode that I haven't tried.

HL falls into my favorite category of game, which is the minute to learn, lifetime to master variety. The rules are very simple, but the strategies get really complex. Just as in Go, playing either too conservatively or too aggressively will get you destroyed (or hemmed within a nice little corner of the board) in a hurry. I also love how the landscape of the entire board can change dramatically with a single move. I could go on, but I think if you're still reading you should probably just go buy it for 3 bucks.

HL is rather professional looking, IMO. The pieces are attractive and colorful. The backgrounds are nice looking, if a bit distracting at times. Be aware that there are some performance issues. I have crashed to the menu a number of times. Also, the music breaks up terribly and the sound effects also stutter at times. There is a save state, but it doesn't seem to work if you hit the button to go to the phone menu, which I have a tendency to do. I also wish I didn't have to hit yes/no to enable sounds every time the game starts, but this is not a big deal. I hope the developer will fix these issues at some point.

I haven't played through the entire game yet, but I'm really loving this so far. It has a new place among my favorites, along with Bejeweled, Orions, and The Plateau. If anybody has questions, fire away, and I'll try to answer.
01-28-2009, 11:26 AM
#2
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,654
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=302558895&mt=8

Thanks for the review. This sounds like a great game.

01-28-2009, 11:36 AM
#3
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,866
Nice detailed review! I'm going to look into this some more, but it sounds like a fun game.

Web Designer & Developer since 1999.

Games I highly recommend: CozyQuest, Gemmed, Jabeh, Blue Defense, Blue Attack, geoDefense, Hospital Havoc
01-28-2009, 12:05 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,916
Thanks. I hate to see good games go unplayed. I actually went ahead and submitted a slightly modified writeup to the app store, which I've never done before. You guys are a bad influence
01-28-2009, 12:15 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misguided View Post
Thanks. I hate to see good games go unplayed. I actually went ahead and submitted a slightly modified writeup to the app store, which I've never done before. You guys are a bad influence


Am curious, have you contacted the developer directly with your concerns?

This is a fairly new game (2 days old?), so there's a good chance we'll see updates to come if the developer cares about his game beyond just releasing it and forgetting it.

You should invite him to the forums to discuss his game, if you haven't already.

Web Designer & Developer since 1999.

Games I highly recommend: CozyQuest, Gemmed, Jabeh, Blue Defense, Blue Attack, geoDefense, Hospital Havoc

Last edited by Donburns99; 01-28-2009 at 12:18 PM.
01-28-2009, 12:54 PM
#6
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: United States of America
Posts: 2,210
If it's like that flash game you linked to which I played I think in 1985 (about 25 years ago) or so then yes I'm gonna put this on my snipe list and hope it hits $0.99 and grab it.
01-28-2009, 01:00 PM
#7
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 858
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misguided View Post
Each turn, you can move a single piece in one of two ways: you may clone yourself to an adjacent hex while remaining where you started or you may jump two hexes away, removing yourself from the starting spot. Any enemy units next to your new location are converted to your color.
This sounds exactly like a game I have called "Spoilage." Although, it seems this one is much more complex. I might check it out later on.
01-28-2009, 01:32 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,916
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donburns99 View Post


Am curious, have you contacted the developer directly with your concerns?

This is a fairly new game (2 days old?), so there's a good chance we'll see updates to come if the developer cares about his game beyond just releasing it and forgetting it.

You should invite him to the forums to discuss his game, if you haven't already.
No, I haven't yet. I'd like to play further in first.
The game has been previously released for Palm/Pocket PC/etc and this is actually version 1.2. Prior to this (according to the developer's website) the game only had 15 levels and (I think) only one difficulty setting, so they have definitely been working on it.
01-28-2009, 02:01 PM
#9
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Philly, USA
Posts: 443
Would like to try this game, is there a color blind setting or mode?

Would hate to but this game but be unable to play due to my color blind handicap...
01-28-2009, 02:22 PM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,916
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaskU2See View Post
Would like to try this game, is there a color blind setting or mode?

Would hate to but this game but be unable to play due to my color blind handicap...
Actually, while it might be tricky, the icons for the different teams ARE different. Similar, but not identical.