Genre: Puzzle
Year: 2003
Developed by: Carbonated Games
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
Feeling Like: Why the hex not?

In 2011, I decided that I didn’t have enough experience with video games. After all, there was a whole new console out with a whole new library of games that I was missing. “New” being a word open to interpretation, since the Xbox 360 had been out for more than 5 years at this point. I forget if it was my winnings in Vegas that encouraged me, or just a spur the moment decision, but I’m glad it was made. The 360 was one hell of a console.

Hexic HD was made available for free on Xbox Live. Not a hard decision to download it – younger Henry would be absolutely floored with the very notion of a video game that cost exactly zero dollars, but older, deal-hungry Henry managed to sniff it out. Never mind that the system itself cost hundreds of dollars to GET Hexic HD in the first place. “Free” is also a word open to interpretation.

It’s a wonderful, simple puzzle game. Created by Alexey Pajitnov, the legendary name behind Tetris, it shares many of the similarities; easy to understand mechanics, addictive gameplay loop, pleasant music and simple colors ensure a moderately stress free experience.

I could do without the unnecessary borders. Where is my 1080p?

It doesn’t require as much dexterity and timing as Tetris, but requires a bit more analytical thinking. The goal isn’t to simply make similar hexes group up and disappear, but also set up your next drop so you can get the ever elusive star hexes and silver hexes. The achievements give hints about the “goal” of the game, but really it’s just about getting as high a score as you can. Nothing wrong with that.

If you set it up right, the cascade of consistently dropping hexes disappearing into a sea of points that you’ve preemptively placed (accidentally or on purpose) is supremely satisfying.

A silver lining.

For how little I played Hexic HD, I probably shouldn’t have it nearly as high. The previous entry of Civilization 6 had me gushing, complimenting the systems and strategy and engrossing landscapes and wonders. Here, Hexic HD is….well, it’s a well made puzzle game that I got for free. I’d play it again, but I wouldn’t rush to do so and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Is it because it has so few flaws? Am I biased since Pajitnov is a genius? Was it because it was the first XBox 360 game I played and “beat”? Why is this game marginally ahead?

I really can’t say. I’m as adept at explaining my rankings as I am setting up perfect, six sided honeycomb.

Ah well, too late now. Onward and upward.

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