Thanks to Mythic Owl for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 06/12/2018
Going for a zen feel, Hexologic doesn’t even bother to have a title screen, putting you on a basic level select whenever you start up the game. While the backgrounds are colorful and pretty, the barebones UI feels pretty haphazard, coming off as a game that was barely ported with the Switch in mind. In fact, the entire game can be touch controlled if you so choose. The good news is there’s at least a very soothing track that plays in the background as you go through level by level.
In order to clear a stage in Hexologic, you must add to the total presented in a row or column, by using the Y, X or A button to mark a tile as 1, 2 or 3 respectively, while B cycles through all of these. So if a diagonal column wants you to add to seven, placing tiles for three, two and two in the column would be the way to solve it. However, some rows are part of said columns, so the tiles may have to go in a certain order to work for both the row and column. The developer claims Hexologic plays like Sudoku, but I found it akin to Picross, albeit a lot more simple, with levels that can be completed in under a minute at first, slowly growing more difficult with each level.
While you breeze through the levels, you have the option to mark certain levels with a heart to indicate favorite ones to redo later, if you so desire, and there’s bonus levels that will unlock later on after more of the main ones are cleared. New mechanics are thrown into the mix with each batch of levels, from a gray block that’s a fixed number and unchangeable, to blocks that have spaces between them before the column is completed. This slow rollout of new ideas is a nice way to keep the player engaged, and outside of that there’s little else to talk about. In nearly 45 minutes, I was able to clear half of the main levels, and continuing to play Hexologic made it obvious that the pacing was meant to be fairly fast.
This isn’t a bad thing considering the reasonable price of the game, although there was one gripe I had with the controls. Moving the cursor around is fairly quick with the left stick, but the D-Buttons don’t seem to really work most of the time. Pressing lightly on a button will just cause it to do nothing, while holding down will sometimes cause it to work. It reminds me of the glitch I encountered in Letter Quest Remastered where there was strange lag, but thankfully it isn’t as bad here as it was in that game.
In conclusion, Hexologic is a great casual experience to play on the Switch’s handheld mode. While there are several other Picross titles that can provide the same fix Hexologic is aiming for, Hexologic is the cheapest of them all, but also the shortest as a result. Outside of a hastily ported UI and some minor control lag, this game gets the job done and is a suitable puzzle game to kill two hours with. Unfortunately, there’s little replay value to be seen once you beat the main and bonus levels, but what’s here is enjoyable enough to be worth checking this puzzler out with your gold points, or if you just want every possible picross-like title there is. There’s just not much to it.
I give Hexologic a 7 out of 10.