Hexic HD

The arcade art for Hexic HD for the Xbox 360!

Hexic is a puzzle, tile-matching game originally published by Microsoft as an MSN game, and it was ported in HD to the Xbox 360 in 2005. Basically, the idea is to form clusters or flower patterns from hexagons of identical colors. Forming clusters has a sort of Bejeweled function in that the hexagons disappear and new ones fall onto the screen. The danger comes into play in the way that occasionally, color bombs will appear on the screen. The way these work is that they all have a number, and that number represents how many rotations you can make before the bomb explodes and it's game over. You deactivate it by forming it in a cluster or flower of the same colors.

Firstly, you have to continually rotate the clusters of three hexagons to form as many flowers as possible to generate White Stars. in turn, you have to form a flower of six White Stars to create a Black Star. If you can manage to form three Black Stars without losing to a bomb, and then form them in a cluster, you win the game. Got it?

OK, this game is by far my favorite I've ever played on the 360, just because of the huge amount of things you can do with it. You can go for a really long sitting, perhaps with your friends, and see if you can make it to the three Black Stars, or you can just use it as a time killer and get as high a score as possible. Me and my friend who would constantly okay it would typically do both, and we even managed to finish once.

Now, this game is pretty much the same throughout, and definitely the same concept through and through, but there are a couple of levels to it. The last level up is the way it stays, but in the first few, you get a new added color of hexagon, as well as Star Spaces, which give you more points than usual, and the ominous bomb spaces.

Some of you probably think that the bombs are cheap difficulty, but they're actually a pretty interesting and potentially beatable challenge that I'm glad is actually there. I'm glad they put pressure on you with the amount of turns you take as opposed to using something like a limit on time. I makes it necessary to plan carefully and find the best strategy to put the problem down quickly and quietly.

I also really enjoy the general atmosphere of this game. It really befits a futuristic and somewhat robust console like the Xbox 360, in the way that it doesn't make itself feel like a puzzle game. It makes you feel kind of like you're hacking an enemy computer system in a war of advanced tech and weaponry during the 24th century. With the cool synthetic music tracks and amazing look, I'm just constantly captivated by this game.

The great news is that this game comes with the Xbox 360, so you can get Hexic HD just for getting a 360, which you may be interested in doing or have already done. Another possible option is getting the actual MSN game, but I find the Xbox 360 version at least to be entirely worth playing.