Review: HexArray


What happens if you squish a Rubik's style sliding puzzle into a hexagon based grid, throw on various potential moves into the individual tiles in the grid, and ask players to slide the tiles around to get coloured hexagons to target squares? Apart from a huge headache, you get HexArray!

Author: Joonashh

Version Reviewed:

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Available as a free download from the Windows Marketplace, this ad-supported puzzle game does have a bit of overkill, with in-app banner advertising at the top and bottom of the screen. This caught my eye straight away, and I'll like to see this calmed down a bit, but at the same time without seeing the income these generate for author Joonashh it's a tough call to make to state that two is too many.

What I do like about HexArray is that there is no time limit, and everything is on display. There's no guesswork involved (if you take your time to think things through), and there's no pressure to try something just because there are some numbers counting down forcing you into doing a pointless something.

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But there are limits. The moves you make are represented by icons on each hex tile, and a move will only apply to the hexes near the tile that has the move. You can only make a move if you can touch an icon in the centre section of the hex grid, represented by the black outline in these screenshots. So if you need to make a horizontal slide on one line of hexes, and you don't have the left or right pointing arrow on that line, then you'll need to slide one into place (which moves another tile with a certain move out of the way).

This limitation of your moves is the key to the puzzle - for the first few levels, you need to work out how to move the red hex tile to the red target square, and then shuffle all the tiles around so the solution will actually work. Which of course is easy at the start and you can do it almost by eye. With fifty levels to work through, you can be sure that the later challenges will need a lot of planning,  thanks to multiple coloured tiles being added to the mix, tiles that have no move on them, and a lack of certain moves that you think you need to solve a level.

Rest assured every level has a solution, although it might take some time to work it out. I also had to laugh many times at the end of level awards. The by now traditional 'one, two or three stars' for solving in the least number of moves is on show here, but to be honest I'm working on another scale - have I managed to finish the level or not. For example, level twelve has a three star score of 9 moves. My first attempt took 62 moves. But I was proud and happy I had finished. That's enough for me!

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HexArray is a great idea, and the mechanics of the game are well coded, although there are some rough edges in the application as a whole. It is possible to have an application without a splash screen, but you need to have everything else smartly thought out. Starting the game and being returned to level one each time you open the app doesn't feel right. Neither are the very small on screen buttons, for functionality and navigating the levels, dotted around the edge of the screen, very user friendly.

I can forgive all of that (but will be watching for a tweaked UI in any update) because almost all of my time is spent working inside the hex grid, and that's clear and simple to interact with, thanks to the size of the tiles and the clear, albeit plain, graphics. HexArray is recommended for the puzzle fan reading this, and specifically the puzzle fan with a rubberised case around their phone for the moments that it's thrown hard at a wall in frustration!

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