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HexaLex 2.0 Review (iPod Touch/iPhone)

Game Review: HexaLex 2.0
Release: July 1, 2010
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Nathaniel Gray
Available Platforms: iPhone/iPod touch
Players: 1-4
MSRP: $2.99
ESRB Rating: 9+
Website: http://hexalex.com/

HexaLex: “The world’s first hexagonal crossword game”, is a great new concept on the classic Scrabble and fans of Scrabble will be immediately at home as soon as they start up this great app.  The main difference that you notice immediately is that HexaLex lets you play in more dimensions that the traditional 2 dimensions of Scrabble. The reason for this is that the tiles in HexaLex are hexagonal compared to the good old square tiles in Scrabble.

One of the first things you are asked to do when you start the game is to create a Hexalex account. This is basically a profile which lets you track your play history including the medals that you have unlocked.  The medals are a nice addition awarded to the gamer depending on how you play e.g. number of tiles you play in one go, highest score for a play.   There are 30 medals in total with varying degrees of difficulty and skill required to unlock them all. You can also link this account to your facebook profile so that you can let all your facebook friends know how you are doing after each game of HexaLex.  This is a smooth interaction with facebook but its something I don’t do as a rule as I try not to spam my friends. [UPDATE] 12th July. Based on feedback from the developer I would like to take the opportunity to clarify the facebook interface. “We will never post anything to your stream automatically. Any time you choose to post a FB story you’re shown exactly what will be posted and given the opportunity to cancel or proceed.” [UPDATE]

The boards, letters and graphics in general are sharp and you can zoom in for a closer look in the usual way that you do on your iPhone by using your finger and thumb and swiping outwards.

The big changes in version 2.0 are mainly focused around the online play and facebook integration but if you prefer to play this as a single player, you can have up to 3 AI opponents and there are 4 difficulty settings available.  I found the first two settings pretty easy going but once I stepped it up to the 3rd highest setting I never stood a chance, the AI simply destroyed me each and everytime with 5 letter words almost standard as a minimum each go.  It should also be noted that the instant feedback is very helpful with the letters on tiles you have placed staying the colour red until you have a valid word, this is just one example of the fine support that is built into the game to help casual players become expert players.

Features:

* Play and chat with friends online, 2-4 players, with push notifications when it’s your turn.

* Play in the plane or on the subway. Your moves will be sent the next time you’ve got an internet connection.

* Find players from your address book or Facebook friend list.

* Four computer opponents for single-player gaming.

* Over 30 medals to earn by making great plays and beating
your opponents.

* Facebook Connect integration for finding friends and sharing achievements.

* Innovative instant feedback system helps you play like a pro.

* All the tools demanding crossword gamers love, including shuffle, dictionary search, and a 2-letter word list.

* Tap your tiles to type while searching the dictionary.

* Track your stats and records in each game and over your career.

* iOS 4 Ready: Fully backgroundable on supported hardware.

* Hi-res icon for iPhone 4’s retina display.

* For iPad users: Option to disable autozoom

Mark’s Final Say: If you like puzzle games or you’re the type of person who sits on long train journeys and enjoys puzzles in the back of newspapers then give HexaLex a go.  It’s a very solid puzzle game that you can play on your own or hook up online with friends.  At the time of writing this review the game was on sale through the iTunes app store for 33% off until the 15th July.

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  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the great review! I just wanted to mention that HexaLex is very conservative about Facebook. We will never post anything to your stream automatically. Any time you choose to post a FB story you’re shown exactly what will be posted and given the opportunity to cancel or proceed.

    The benefit of linking your FB account is that you have easy access to a list of your FB friends who have done the same, which makes it easier to find people to play with.

    Cheers,
    -Nathan Gray, HexaLex developer

    • Nathan,
      Thanks for the feedback. I will add an update line to the review regarding the point you have clarified on facebook.