It is not every day that you come across a truly creative and unique game. Especially one that can be found deep within the recesses of the iTunes App Store. Let’s be honest, a lot of the games here, regardless of how good or bad they may be, are derivative or even direct ports and copies of previously developed games. So. I was pretty excited when I got an email from the folks behind the new game Hexistentialism.
The basics of this game are nothing new. It is a matching game. Find three matches and remove them from the board. What is new is the design of the game. Your tiles are hexagon shapes that come in three colors: purple, red, or orange. Painted on each tile is a symbol. These are either a circles or half circles, with one, two, or three rings. You will also notice that they are shaded either white, gray, or half and half. That makes for a lot of combinations. Your job is to make sets of three, following a set of defined rules, to remove all of the tiles from the gameboard.
The good news here is that there is a tutorial, which I highly recommend using. Along with all of these combinations come quite a few rules about what does or does not constitute a match. The tutorial is helpful for two reasons. Not only does it teach you all of the complex rules (one at a time), but it also gives you a chance to ease into the game, and start slowly.
This is where the game should have started. With easy, one or two variable combinations, giving you a chance to get used to the gameplay and ease into things. Instead, when you hit new game, it will immediately take you to the full board with all of the different variables in play. Yikes! It would be nice if there was a difficulty setting which would allow you to start with easier combinations, and progress to the more difficult levels.
Additionally, all of the shapes are variables on the same two shapes: circles and U’s. They come in different colors, and different numbers, and even upside down. But still all variations on the same themes. This can get confusing. With so many different combinations, can I match a U with an upside down U if they are the same color? (apparently not). Rather than multiple variations on the same three symbols (resulting in nine different symbols, each of which has three color schemes for 27 combinations), it would be nice to see more variation in the symbols.
Nonetheless, I found gameplay to be at once frustrating and exhilarating. It provided a challenge, which left me completely addicted in no time. While it sounds like finding combinations of three matches should be no problem, keeping track of the various rules and potential combinations can be far more complicated than it sounds. Before you know it, you will find yourself just staring at the screen muttering, “I found two…I just need one more for a match…”
Hexistentialism is available from the iTunes App Store for $2.99
What I Liked: unique gameplay, great tutorial, well drawn graphics
What Needs Improvement: No easy levels. Not enough variation between symbols can lead to confusion.