Sequels can be difficult. You have to change enough to keep things interesting but remain careful to not going so far as to alienate your fan base. It’s a fine balance that needs to be struck for a sequel to be sucessful. Puzzle games have an added difficulty in what to change and not to change. I like puzzle games albeit most of them I play on my phone due to ease of use, but I like sitting down and teasing my brain with a game that make me think. A while back I reviewed Hex and had a good time with it so when I heard Studio Goya was making Hex 2 I was pretty excited.
Hex is a minimalist indie puzzler where the goal is to clear tiles off the board. There are different colours of tiles which have varied abilities such as only activating from 2 spaces away or once all adjacent tiles have been cleared. In my review of Hex I mentioned how I enjoyed the simple approach to the graphics, sound, and game design.
I bring this up because in Hex 2 the basics are the same. You still try and clear the board of tiles and some of the colours from the previous game still exist, and the graphics and sound design still fit that minimalist aesthetic. So what sets Hex 2 apart from its predecessor… Well, not much to be honest. There are a few new comers to tile colours which provides at least a bit of a difference. The new music track is relaxing and mellow but it is again just a long synth track, and the level select screens got a nice facelift. The tutorials when each new colour is added to the library still exist and provide some basics of how the new tile interacts.
The only real gripe I have with the game is that the level design felt a little more random and harsh at times. With the first game I found with most of the puzzles I could look at it and see a logical path towards completion. Hex 2 though felt as though there were multiple paths that ended in dead ends a few moves down the line and I found I was doing much trial and error to solve them.
This only makes a small difference on my critique and all in all I think Hex 2 can still be considered a good game. The changes though slight are welcome and I understand that with puzzles games a sequel will often just feel like extra levels of its predecessor. Even with my complaints about level design I still had fun with this mellow puzzler, and if you liked Hex then you’re basically buying more levels at a reasonable price. If you didn’t like it then you’re probably not going to enjoy this one any more than the first.