lauantai 16. tammikuuta 2016

Hexcells, Hexcells Plus & Hexcells Infinite

Level 6 from Hexcells Plus, in its initial state.
Hexcells is a casual puzzle game in the spirit of the good old Minesweeper. It differs from Minesweeper with a few key points, though: 1) all the puzzles are solvable by logic only, you never need to guess (even if the logic may be a bit tricky to figure out!); 2) the board consists of hexes instead of squares; and 3) there are other kinds of hints besides just the number of "mines" (blue hexes) next to a number hex, such as the number of hexes on a column, or a hint that the blue hexes around a number hex are joint with no gaps (number in curly braces: {2}) or that they are not all adjacent (number with dashes around them: "-3-"). Also the game looks nice and has an ambient background "music" that can only be described as "soothing".

It took me less than two hours to perfect the original Hexcells and I figured I could've played some more, so I bought Hexcells Plus and Hexcells Infinite too. All of the games have initial tutorial levels to teach the mechanics, but the difficulty level in Hexcells Plus goes up way quicker than in Hexcells -- there are few really easy levels. The more difficult levels can even take up to 30 minutes or so, which started to feel like too much, especially given that you cannot save the game in the middle of a level! Also, it does feel irritating if you make a mistake towards the end of a level after having spent 20 minutes on it, especially if you're after the Perfectionist achievement without cheating.

Level 29 from Hexcells, almost solved.
Both Hexcells and Hexcells Plus have 36 levels, but it took me between 5 and 10 times longer to complete Hexcells Plus than Hexcells. All the levels in both games are hand-crafted and sometimes almost made me laugh at the beauty of the puzzle, which is a good sign of a good puzzle game. I'm still in the middle of Hexcells Infinite, which also has 36 hand-crafted levels, but in addition to that, millions of randomly generated levels and a possibility to load in community-made levels.

Playing all the three games is starting to feel a bit laborious, but the games are strangely addicting and you often feel like playing one more level even though the last one already took too much time. I can warmly recommend any of these games to any puzzle-lover out there. I liked the original Hexcells the most, as it offered a short Flow-state of puzzle-solving, whereas the other games make you put much more effort into them. Hexcells is also priced the same as Hexcells Plus, Hexcells Infinite being a bit more expensive. All the games are sold in a bundle too, which you might find at a nice discount in some Steam sale.

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