“ Manufacturer: Microsoft / Genre: Puzzle / Release Date: 2005 / Xbox Live Arcade „
Those new to the Xbox 360 will be greeted by a handful of simplistic game trials, available to purchase on Xbox Live. You also get one free 'full' game, which takes up minimal space on your harddrive and offers you a fun little option to keep you occupied when you want a slow paced, light puzzle style game. At first glance it looks simple enough, with little hexes as the name suggests, in bright primary colours. The objective of the game is to create stars and black pearls. You can scroll across the board of about 100 hexes (see the image in description), with a selector highlighting 3 of them and only 2 moves available - A & X flip the 3 selected either clockwise or anti-clockwise. If three of the same coloured hexes collide, they explode and you gain a low amount of points, while more hexes fall from the sky to refill the board. When you explode enough hexes, you reach the next level. The main objective however, to create stars, is a much harder art that requires patience and foresight. There are three modes to choose from - Marathon Mode, the main game with no time limit, Timed Mode and Survival Mode which varies greatly from the first 2 in that you must keep the hexes down to a minimum or they become rock solid, cluttering up the board similar to Tetris. (each mode has three difficulties, easy, normal & expert) HEXES These are the building blocks of the entire game. They come in primary colours (including green and purple), with added secondary and tertiary colours being thrown into the mix after set levels in the game. Only a block of three can be rotated and can consist of stars, bombs or black pearls STARS To create a star, one must maneuver 6 of the same coloured hex, into a flower shape (or indeed star) with the middle hex being a different colour entirely. Stars themselves can be highlighted on their own and when rotated, move all 6 hexes around them to aid in the production of more stars, moving about and creating black pearls. When three stars collide together, they disintegrate providing a high amount of points, but this will prove a troublesome point grab. BLACK PEARLS Are crafted when 6 stars are shifted into the star/flower position. A black pearl can move only 3 hexes in an inverted Y position. The combination of 3 pearls into a cluster ends the game in victory. These can give you millions of points. BOMBS look like ordinary hexes but with a number inside them. This number is the amount of moves you have before it explodes and its game over. To remove them you must either colide them with 2 other hexes of the same colour or make use of star hexes. Towards the later levels, these bombs decrease the amount of moves left to get rid of them. STAR HEXES Spice up the game even more. Combining them with 2 more star hexes of any colour, explode a large section of hexes. Combine them with a bomb however and remove all hexes of the bombs colour. The game is at first rather difficult, which is why so many people ignore it irrationally. But give it time and get the hang of it and you'll find it rather addictive, especially as you can compete with your friends high scores on the leader-boards. To explain my appreciation for it, I purchased a second hand Xbox which had no copy of Hexic on it. I went to the effort of trying to find it on the marketplace and even copying it from other friends consoles but nothing worked. Luckily it has been made available for free download on the xbox live marketplace. I played it so much at one point that I saw all the hexes when I shut my eyes. There is some really atmospheric, ambient music that makes it feel really trippy to play but you can always play your own music over it - Massive Attack is a good choice. It also has a sequel, Hexic 2 which I don't recommend as it mixes up the game a bit too much and of course, this time costs microsoft points.
I like my puzzles, but I love nothing more than to sit there playing games where you have to match three symbols, gems or pictures together and clear the board!! You can download it online, something I will have to look into more, but it originally comes as a free game on Xbox 360 Elite. I started my gaming career on things like Bejeweled and Gold Quest, easy enough stuff for someone who can't shoot a still target, but when I bought my boyfriend his new Xbox 360 Elite and he showed me the games that were already available, I had to try it out! The words "match 3 in a row" told me I'd like it as soon as I started playing - and I did! The basic outline of the Marathon side of the game is you go through all these different levels and at each level you have to turn hexagons in a bundle, of 3 at a time, and match up 3 of the same coloured ones ('hex'ic, get it?) for them to disappear. You start of with simple greens, yellows, purples, reds and blues, but after a couple level-ups they introduce more colours, then they introduce the bombs; these things I hate! The bomb comes as a hexagon itself but coloured with a number in it, ie when it drops at the top it's blue with a number 9 on it. The number tells you how many moves you can before it explodes, and the colour tells you what you have to match that particular hexagon with to disarm it and get it off the board, ie match it with 2 other blues and it's gone! It's only easy when they throw in a colour with at least 2 or 3 of the same colour around it, but when that bomb's in a corner or on it's own you're stuffed! Other things to look out for are making what I like to call 'flowers', I'm not sure of their technical term on the game at the moment, but if you manage to get 6 hexagons of the same colour making a ring around one other colour (like flower petals around it's yellow bit), they all disappear and the colour in the middle is replaced by a nice, shiny hexagon which can turn up to 6 other hexagons at a time and make it a little easier to get the right colour to match others. If you manage to get 6 of these shiny hexagons around another colour, you turn that colour into a black one and as I've only ever really had one I'm not sure what they do! The hints throughout state what they are so just keep a look out for those if you ever play. For those interested in the Gamer Points you get on your profile, this game is a really easy one to grasp and get a couple hundred from. I've only got 35 Points but if you keep doing other things, such as getting a certain number of combos in a level or a certain number of points in one of the modes that I am finding impossible to get right now, you get more and more Gamer Points. Only bad thing about that is they're limited to about 200 for the whole game! You can also see which Achievements you've got from the game before you go on it by flicking the analogue stick to the right and reading the Achievements tab instead of going straight into the game. The controls are easy enough to learn too, they tell you all about it at the start of the game anyway so it's not like you need a full blow-by-blow from me now, but the basics are A and X to turn the hexagons and the analogue stick to move your little highlighter around the screen (they match up and disappear automatically). There are also different modes; you can play on a Timed mode where you have to keep the level going and et as many points as possible before the time runs out, but every time you get a match you get a few seconds added or it freezes the clock, I've never been one to watch it when I'm in Timed as I find it hard! The one I prefer the most is the Marathon mode, where you play till you blow up or run out of moves - easiest one for me, I don't always have to pause when I want a break! There's also a mode called the Survival mode, I myself haven't been on it but it looks hard so I tend to avoid it! So for a free game with the console it's actually not too bad, but I think it only comes with the Xbox 360 Elite. We're getting the new Xbox when it's out on the 16th July so I'll let you know if they have Hexic on that or not - if not, I'll just have to download it!
Hexic HD was the original Xbox LIVE Arcade Game, it came with most Xbox 360's, already downloaded on your HDD. So most of you will already have this game, and as far as i know, this game cannot be downloaded, so if you've deleted it i dont think you can get it back. The game has 3 modes, all singleplayer, Timed, Survival and Marathon. In timed mode the player is given a short amount of time to complete a level, when the level is complete, the player will earn more time to carry on into the next level, the game carries on until the timer runs out. Getting special combo's also increases the amount of time left. In survival mode the player is given the standard board, but when the player removes hexagons, no new ones will appear. After there are no more possible moves left, the remaining hexagons are locked and the board fills up again, the player must then start again, but all the while dealing with the locked hexagons, doing succesful moves near a locked hexagon will unlock it. There are 3 ways in which the game can end: If the player clears the entire gamefield then the game will end. If the player reaches level 50 the game will end. And if all hexagons on the board become locked then the game will end. The marathon mode, which is the standard game mode, is based on the same rules except there is no timer, instead bombs will fall of a certain colour, you are given a certain amount of turns in which to remove the bombs, if you cant remove them within the amount of turns given, its game over. The game succesfully ends when the player creates a cluster or flower of black pearls. This game is great considering you get it free with the Xbox 360, although i would have liked it more if they had added a multiplayer mode. The other Hexic game, Hexic 2 which is also available on XBL but costs 800 microsoft points, does feature a competitive 2 player mode.
Surprisingly, I found this really simple arcade game a whole load of fun. Basically, the aim of the game is to place ajoining colours together to score points - and, of course, try to get the most points you can. Even though its shares a common objective with most arcade games of this nature the way you go about doing it couldn't be more different. As the name would suggest the objects you are moving are hexagons. instead of simply switching them with adjacent pieces you have to rotate them into one another to score points. I though this was quite clever as: firstly, it's more challenging and secondly it's a refreshing, new idea. This game is very addictive and as you progress it gets harder and harder to take a break because you become more hooked on it. The ultimate way to win is to arrange the ordinary colours into a standard hexagon, making a star. Then six of these stars into a hexagon making a pearl. Then finally six of these pearls together - thus winning the game. You can never truly win however as this game will have you hooked and you will always be playing this after the your first go.
The first thing about this game is that it comes free with your Xbox 360 which is obviously a good thing. Hexic Hd is created by the same person who created Tetris which is also good. Hexic is similar to Bejewelled if you have ever played or even Tetris that you have to get coloured pieces into certain positions. Here you have to rotate them and they disappear if they are met with other pieces of the same colour. There are special pieces which in the right position end the game and these also enable you to move the pieces differently therefore helping you. There are also random bombs which you have to destroy or you lose and have to start all over again which makes this simple puzzle game get quite complicated. The graphics are nothing special but get the job done an don`t look bad. The sound is Ok and the achievements range from very easy to incredibly difficult which will keep you playing a little bit longer if you like getting a higher gamerscore. The controls are easy to use and I think my Nan could play this game if she could manage to turn an Xbox on! The replay value is Ok as you will find yourself picking it up occasionally and also play it for a couple of hours on the first play through. Overall Hexic Hd is a decent game and well worth playing for free with a simple game similar to Bejewelled which is meant to be addictive but for some reason I was not. It is well worth playing for free and if you cannot afford to buy any new games you might as well give it a go as you will be surprised how good it is. However this game is worse than Bejewelled or Tetris as it is a lot less addictive than them. 4/5 Good for a free game but if I was paying for a puzzle game I would get Bejewelled or Bejewelled 2!