May 17, 2011

Hex Defense

This time I wanted to review a game that has been on my device for quite some time.  A game that I keep going back to again and again.  One that hasn't lost its place on one of my 7 precious Sense UI screens.  This game, is Hex Defense by the team at  Hex Defense is a tower defense game.  Now that might stop you right there and make you move on but read on to find out what makes this one so special.  I'm a gamer tried and true, however, when it comes to mobile gaming I like to take it in little chunks of time.  To me, this means a pick up and go game.  One that I can commit an hour to or just 5 minutes if I have a spare few of them.  Hex Defense is just that type of game.  It has enough depth to keep you interested for hours but is easy enough to get into and out of that you can finish a game in 5 minutes or less if you use the speedup option.

So just what is this Tower Defense Genre?  If you've been gaming in a cave you should know that a tower defense game has you building all sorts of towers to defend against some invading force that wants to either get from one side of the map to another or get to something that you have a finite supply of and take it away from you.  If a certain number of these things get across the map or take all of your things then the game is over.  Hex Defense is no different here.  Think Geometric Shapes and bright colors and you'll get a feel for the maps in the game.  The enemies are shapes such as squares or circles that navigate through the map to try and get to your home tile and steal one of your precious 10 lives.  There are twenty waves of enemies on each map, each progressively harder and twenty maps in the paid version with which to challenge you.  Couple that with two different difficulty levels and you'll have quite a job on your hands for the current price of US $1.49.

Gameplay is very straight forward.  On the bottom of the screen are your four tower types.  Place your finger on a tower and drag it to the location on the map where you'd like to place it.  The game will tell you if it is a valid location (you can't block the invaders completely) and then lift your finger.  The tower will place and begin shooting at the invaders as they go by.  Each tower has different abilities such as lasers or missiles.  The really fun part is that each tower can be upgraded up to four times to make it more powerful.  Each successive upgrade costs more money, the only way to make money is to take out those invaders.  The game becomes strategic as you try and decide the best mix of towers and placement based on the amount of money you have.  As each wave comes the invaders become more and more powerful and work their way towards your home tile faster.  Your job is to create a maze of towers and upgrade them as fast as possible in order to defeat all twenty waves.  Each map is unique and some of them even contain special tiles.  These special tiles can either help or hinder you.  For example, one tile gives the invaders back health as they go over it so avoid these at all costs.  Another tile slows down the invaders so if you can funnel them into these with your tower placement you can gain an advantage.  One of my favorite maps is called "PotHoles", in this level, there are two locations that funnel aliens into them, one gives health to them, the other takes it away.  It's fun to create a maze of towers around and into the various obstacles.

Twenty Maps might not seem like a lot but if you take into consideration the two difficulty levels and the time it takes to really master each map then this is a good value for your money.  If you read some of the reviews on the marketplace people seem to think it is too easy but I disagree.  The first level that I beat was the 11th map, one called Two Paths, the map has a central bottleneck so I just loaded up my towers there and upgraded them and for the first time was able to beat back the onslaught.  This felt like a real accomplishment.  I hope that the game designers continue supporting this game in the form of more maps and perhaps online leaderboards.  The scores are only local but it is fun to see if you can beat your previous score.  I think that there should be separate scoreboards for normal and hard difficulties, as it stands there is no way to differentiate the two so if you score lower on the harder difficulty it just says your high score is what you scored on normal.  My only other gripe is that I have to turn down the graphics in order to get smooth gameplay on my HTC Incredible.  It runs ok with the full graphics on but if things get hectic it slows down quite a bit.  I'm glad the developers put the ability to switch down the graphics detail in there.  So that's it, Hex Defense is an entertaining pick up and play game that will take you some time to master.  It has depth and playability that make this one that everyone should check out.  If you're unsure, go check out the free version that is out there but I think you'll agree that the developers deserve paid support on this one.  I give it 4.0 out of 5 stars!

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