Lighting the Way
On the surface, Orixo Hex is a relatively simple concept. This isn’t surprising, given that Logisk Studio has a history of producing well-received minimalist games. While these are great for lower budgets, creating a quality experience can be challenging to achieve. Nevertheless, with Orixo Hex, Logisk Studio seems to have done it again.
The game consists of stages featuring hex-based puzzles where some tiles contain numbers. These can light up other hexes in a straight line, but only for the exact amount of the number listed. The goal is to light up every tile, but the game takes an interesting turn when these lines start to intersect. This is where the real fun and challenge of the game lies. When you try to light up an already lit hex, it will effectively jump over it, and continue to do so until it can reach an unlit hex. If none are available, you can’t play it. Thus, players must ascertain the correct sequence to light up all hexes on the map.
This process is relatively simple in earlier stages, providing players with easier patterns to solve. Eventually, longer hex chains become more prevalent, which can be both good and bad, as longer chains are limited in their direction, but it also makes smaller chains more critical. Often this involves either creating gaps that the longer chains can’t reach, or creating lit spaces for them to jump over.
The purpose of this experience is to provide players with a game that is both inviting and relaxing. Though some (like me), will feel this even when playing the game without sound, those who partake in the soothing ambient music will find it even more enriching.
Minimal to Moderate Challenge
While finding the solution is usually fun, some scenarios (particularly at the expert difficulty), can be frustrating. A key element to solving these, however, is to ascertain which chains can only go in one direction. This is determined by either the numeric value of the chain or by its location on the map. While larger chains (three or more hexes) can be easy to determine, smaller chains become a lot more complicated. This will frequently cause players to either undo moves or reset stages until they discover the most suitable patterns to follow. Though it can feel overwhelming at times, it feels glorious when it finally comes together.
Even so, much of the game isn’t overly challenging, and it progresses at a pace designed to help players improve. Easier maps, for example, have multiple ways to chain hexes together, while more challenging maps have only one. For the patient and dedicated, trial and error can help you reach and overcome the greater challenges, all free of charge. The only caveat is that you may experience a brief ad between stages, most of which are skippable after a few seconds. At times, players will also encounter an interactive ad, but these are less prevalent.
The Value of Time
Orixo Hex contains nine levels, each containing twenty stages. After completing the first three levels, you must watch three full-length ads to unlock another. Most early game stages can be finished in a minute or two, while harder ones can take about five minutes to solve if you resort to trial and error.
On this note, Logisk provides players with twelve hints to help them along, each of which will reveal one correct hex chain in the pattern for players to build on. If you run out of hints, you can watch a full-length ad to acquire eight more. This allows players to work at their own pace, providing the means to progress through the more challenging stages, hoping to keep players feeling more involved than frustrated.
Even so, Orixo Hex does offer paid packages for those willing to invest in their product, though none of which will affect your ability to solve puzzles and complete the game. Instead, Logisk opted for more quality-of-life upgrades to make the game more enjoyable. Two of these are relatively simple, as one removes ads while the other provides unlimited hints.
The third unlocks all levels and stages of the game. Those without this do so by watching ads and through natural progression, although higher levels can be unlocked in any order. The third package bypasses all of this, unlocking all stages and levels, allowing them to be played in any order. You can also purchase all three for a small sum. Though hardly essential, those who already enjoy Orixo Hex will enjoy these changes much more.
Is It Hardcore?
Orixo Hex is a relaxing, charming, and sometimes challenging minimalist puzzle experience that will continue enticing players to return for more.