Hexoscope – A Review by Warwick Janetzki
What is Hexoscope?
Hexoscope is an inexpensive puzzle game where players form combinations of hexagonal chips in order to create a chain from a power source to a power receiver. It has been developed by Studio Binokle and published by Sometimes You.
Gameplay is very simple. You click on the chips and swap them with the correct piece and combine them. You arrange the patterns so that they line up. The process continues until you have successfully created a chain from the source to the receiver. The gameplay is simple but addictive.
The color palette is very simple and easy on the eyes. I appreciate that the design is clear cut and something that most will not have an issue with. I haven’t tested the game with a color blind gamer but I believe that they should be fine with the game.
Dmitriy “Cyberworm” Vasilyev has created a nice and relaxing soundtrack for that is unique to the game. It accomplishes the task that it needs to and is easy listening.
Is it Steamified?
Hexoscope has Steam trading cards but lacks achievements. I would ideally like to see the developers add a number of achievements to the game. This would encourage people to purchase and play the game. I am of the opinion that puzzle games should always have achievements.
If the game had achievements it would get a resounding purchase recommendation. Hexoscope is a fun puzzle game that is accessible to all ages and all groups of people. If you’re a puzzle fan then I’d suggest that you seriously consider the inexpensive purchase.
Hexoscope – A Review by Jim Deadlock
TL;DR: The price tag of this game is INSANELY LOW for the quality/quantity of puzzling. Buy it quick before they come to their senses!!
The Hexoscope boards contain randomly-generated pieces which each have lines pointing in various directions. You swap pieces to create an uninterrupted line between the terminals. A new mechanic/obstacle is introduced in each section.
As you progress through a level more pieces are unlocked which you can then use anywhere else on your chain. I’ve found a good strategy is to get as far as possible via one route, then if you get stuck double-back via a different route using the pieces you gained on your first push.
You can play levels on Normal or Turbo (timed) which gives you more points. The points system seems arbitrary though. You can repeat levels to get more points and they just accumulate for no apparent reason. No harm in it I suppose. People like points. Perhaps they’ll develop a purpose if/when the Steam achievements arrive.
Aesthetics / UI
The colour and layout of the levels is crisp and sharp as a puzzle should be. The general game UI is beautifully done; level overview looks professional and intuitive; pull-out sliders on the level screens are pretty slick. Solid programming with no glitches whatsoever. The devs have taken the time to craft every facet of the game for smoothness and efficiency which makes a nice change from some of the ropey UIs I’ve seen lately (mentioning no names).
As expected, the background music is atmospheric and forgettable like most other puzzle games I’ve played. You don’t want anything distracting while you’re trying to concentrate.
Hard, challenging puzzles. There’s no Eureka moment, it’s more a series of small victories as you gain territory. Rage-quit is neutralised because if you really get stuck you can simply reset and try again with a different set of pieces. You really should resist the urge though because there always seems to be a way to swap a piece in the middle of the chain to open up the route again if you concentrate hard enough.
I’d like to address some of the negative reviews that say “I just reset till I got an easy solution”. These people obviously haven’t played further than the first few levels. Once you get onto the decent sized boards resetting will only give you a slightly better foothold, the benefit is minimal. I’ve long since stopped bothering to reset the start, I just take what’s there.
Points To Note
Because the levels are randomly generated there can never be any guides or spoilers which is a rare quality in a puzzle game.
There’s no native Linux support. It would be nice to have it, but I’ve discovered that this is one of the few Steam games that runs flawlessly in a VM. Not only that, but when I fired it up in a VM I was pleasantly surprised to find my previous progress from bare-metal Win appeared from the cloud, even the board I was in the middle of playing. Nice.
6 trading cards. No achievements yet but judging by the discussions on the community hub I suspect these will be coming soon. The game has plenty of potential for achievements so I’m looking forward to bagging some in the future.
6 sections with 12 puzzles in each, so 72 levels total. There’s a good 15 hours of gameplay in a single playthrough but due to the random generation of levels there is UNLIMITED REPLAY VALUE. That’s right, this is a $1 game that you can play forever!
I play a lot of $1 puzzle games, they’re my favourite thing, and I’m usually happy to get 2 hours of gameplay out of them. Surely Hexoscope must be the best value game on Steam. They could charge $10 for this and it would still be a bargain.
This is now a permanent fixture on my Favourites list. I’ll be dipping in and playing a couple of levels every day for months to come. I can’t recommend this highly enough, it’s just brilliant.
Here’s a hot tip: if you like Hexoscope then check out Meld. It’s also a hard join-the-hexagons puzzle game but the mechanics are totally different, it’s the perfect complement to this game.