Hexcells Infinite

I tend to think of Hexcells as “MineSweeper on Steroids”. The same basic concept applies: some cells have a number that represents how many adjacent cells contain a special type of cell – be it mines or something else. In Hexcells the cells are: orange (not touched), black (cells with numbers) and blue (the ‘special’ cells)

Really, this has been my go-to game for any time I don’t have a brain, simply because once my brain has learned the rules, I can zone out with the game – unless the puzzle is particularly tricky.

Hexcells, as its name implies is played on a screen of hexes. That means each cell can potentially have 6 neighbors. There’s a lot more to it than numbers in a cell. For a start, the puzzle is not always a regular ‘grid’ of cells. Often cells can be left empty, forming holes in the play area, or making the outline a completely different shape.

Now, it’s not just the numbers in cells that tell you how the boards are laid out. There are quite a number of other ways that are given. Numbers can be at the top of columns, or to the side of ‘diagonals’, or be within special characters that change what the numbers mean. You can even get numbers in the blue cells with a different meaning again.

That’s a lot to deal with, but all of these concepts are introduced slowly. However, if you’re like me, it won’t be long before you’re staring at all the numbers wondering how to make sense of it all.

The thing is, I found Hexcells compelling enough to keep trying, even as I racked up the errors, and wondered where I went wrong. Playing through the easier earlier puzzles, then working my way up to the harder ones helped immensely, and was fun enough that I didn’t feel like I was grinding. Your mileage may vary on that one.

Wait … work your way through easier puzzles? Ok, this is how it works: The game starts, showing you groups of puzzles – each group being six puzzles. At first, you can only access Group 1. (1-1, 1-2, etc) and these puzzles pretty much serve as the tutorial for how to play the game..

In the center of each of the six puzzles is a number. That is the number of ‘points’ you have to accumulate to unlock that group. You’re given a certain number of points you can earn per puzzle, and any errors you make reduce the number of points you earn. Of course, you can replay a puzzle as often as you like to improve your score, so you’re not penalised forever.

Puzzle 2-5 offers 10 points. I made 5 mistakes and they allow a ‘free’ mistake, so I’m only going to get 6 points (the blue hexes on the left)

In this way, you can slowly earn your way through the groups of puzzles, until you can access all of them. As you’d expect the later ones are often much harder than the earlier ones!

Hexcells Infinite is the same basic formula introduced into Hexcells and polished further in Hexcells Plus. However, there are a few things that make this the best of the lot.

The first hint is in the name. While there aren’t actually an infinite number of puzzles, there are an awful lot. As with the first two, there are three pages of 6 groups, each of which contain 6 pauzzles each. So you have a total of 108 puzzles right there. Though to be fair, a lot of them are duplicated between those three pages.

The ‘infinite’ part comes in when you click on the page with the infinity symbol1. Now you get a page that allows you to use a ‘seed’ that can generate a unique2 puzzle. You can use a ‘seed’ from 00000000 (8 zeros) though to 99999999 (8 nines). That gives you 100,000,000 puzzles. Not infinite, but enough to keep you busy for a while.

The second change is minor tweakings to the interface. My favourite is the ability to ‘restart’ a puzzle. You used to have to ‘quit’ a puzzle, then click on the puzzle name to get back to it. Being able to restart quickly is good. Especially if you realise you want to start again and don’t want to get out of the ‘flow’.

You may have guessed by now that I’m a fan of the Hexcells series in general. I’m not, however, going to simply recommend Hexcells Infinite outright. If you enjoy logic type puzzles, like Sudoku or even the original Minesweeper, then I think this one is worth a go. If those aren’t your thing, I suspect you won’t enjoy this one much at all.

About Lisa

A Geeky Gamergrrl who obsesses about the strangest things.
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