|Hexcells Infinite is very similar to Hexcells Plus, except better|
- Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
- Developer: Matthew Brown
- Publisher: Matthew Brown
- Release Date: 2 Sep 2014
- Time played: 20.1 hours
What is itThere isn't much information out there about British indie developer Matthew Brown but since about 2014 he has been quite prolific in pumping out games, especially puzzle games. Brown made his mark with the game I reviewed previously called Hexcells which was released in 2014. The game is like a cross of Minesweeper and Nonograms (aka Picross) except played on a hexagonal grid. The aim of the game is to clear out all the hexes on the board by marking where the blue hexes are (similar to the bomb squares in Minesweeper) and removing hexes when you're sure it's not meant to be marked as a blue hex. Clearing hexes that aren't blue hexes will provide you a number that gives you a clue as to how many blue hexes are in adjacent hexes. As you make your way through the game, it will provide you other ways of determining where the blue hexes are such as numbers on the side of the grid similar to Nonograms.
The game I'm reviewing today, Hexcells Infinite, was released on Steam a few months after the original Hexcells and Hexcells Plus. Just like Hexcells Plus it serves as a "standalone expansion" to the original, offering 36 more new levels to complete along with similar gameplay mechanics. Hexcells Infinite does differ from its predecessors in that it comes with a random puzzle generator too.
As it was with the first two Hexcells games, you are assessed on how effective you are at clearing levels for if you make too many mistakes you're barred access from future levels.
Hexcells Infinite was well received by Steam users with a "Overwhelmingly Positive" rating based on 96% of the 2,127 reviews being positive.
How I got itI managed to get the key for this game in 2016 (as part of the Hexcells Complete Pack which includes Hexcells, Hexcells Plus and Hexcells Infinite) but I can't quite remember how. Most likely I managed to get the key from either the generous Mix-Master (a friend of mine on Steam) or one of the Whirlpudlians on the Whirlpool forums (there is a thread that offers free keys). I quite enjoyed the original Hexcells and after completing its first "standalone expansion" Hexcells Plus I just had to finish the last one.
|You can use random numbers or today's date as a seed to procedurally generate puzzles|
What I like:
Procedurally generated levelsJust like the previous game Hexcells Plus, Hexcells Infinite has a campaign mode with 36 hand-crafted levels by Matthew Brown but if you ever make it through these levels and want to try out more puzzles, now you can! Hexcells Infinite comes with a random puzzle generator meaning you'll essentially never run out of puzzles to try out.
You can now save your progressMost of the puzzles in the campaign can be completed in a matter of minutes although there are some where there are over a hundred hexes to reveal and it can take quite a long time to finish, especially if you're trying to complete them with no mistakes as it requires you to be extra cautious. This was a real pain in earlier versions of Hexcells but thankfully any progress you make towards a puzzle in Hexcells Infinite is now saved: perfect for those that don't have too much time on their hands and want to continue where they left off later.
SoundtrackJust like the previous games in the series, Hexcells Infinite has a very calming, ambient soundtrack but the best part is that each time you clear or mark hexes on the board, it adds extra notes to the music you hear which means not only are you solving a puzzle, you're also creating your own soundtrack.
More puzzles for the Hexcells fansFor those who are fans of Hexcells Plus you won't be disappointed with the puzzles in this game as they are similarly challenging.
Steam AchievementsThe game has 7 Steam Achievements you can work towards but sadly has no Steam Trading Cards you can collect.
|Some puzzles will melt your brain|
What I dislike:
Ramping up the difficultyJust as it was with Hexcells Plus, I found some of the puzzles to be a bit too challenging. While those who are good at puzzle games will welcome the increased difficulty, those who aren't as adept (like myself) will find some of the later levels frustrating and to the point where you wonder if completing the level is even possible without lots of guessing instead of applying logic (if you're curious, yes, you can solve all the puzzles without guessing. Incidentally, there's an exceptional walkthrough by Steam user fuller556 that I had to rely on more than once, if you ever get stumped). Some levels took me several attempts to complete as you can probably tell by the comparable playtime to Hexcells Plus (i.e. over 20 hours). This leads me on to another issue I had with the game...
Gated contentUnfortunately, just like Hexcells and Hexcells Plus, this game has gated content where in order to proceed to later levels you have to solve puzzles efficiently or else you'll never get a chance to experience them. I can understand this might force players to learn to play the game properly before you get to the difficult stuff but it could also mean a lot of frustration and the inability for players to experience the whole game regardless of how good they are at solving puzzles or not.
Score – 8/10 (Recommended)This is the definitive version of Hexcells as it has addressed the drawbacks from the previous games such as the inability to save puzzle progress and the limited number of puzzles. Sure, some of the hand-crafted puzzles are pretty challenging and are on par with Hexcells Plus in terms of difficulty but if you had to pick only one version of Hexcells to get, this would be it.
Is the game worth $7.50 AUD?: Yes. While the game is a few dollars dearer than earlier Hexcells titles, the virtually unlimited procedurally generated levels make up for it.
If you like this game, you might like…
[ LINK: Matthew Brown's Steam Developer Page ]