The App: Huebrix
The Device: iPhone 4
The Price: 99 cents
The Basics: Puzzle games are perfect for mobiel devices. The only problem is finding a puzzle game that hasn’t been done a thousand times before. How many variations on Tetris and Bejeweled can exist before the genre simply implodes and we all go home? Huebrix is refreshing because it takes a common puzzle game goal (find a way to fill all of the space with a strict pathway and limited resources) but does it with elegance and panache. Huebrix doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but it’s definitely not another rehash. If anything, it’s a reinvention.
The Review: Huebrix is so good that I can’t stop playing it…even though I’m terrible at it.
Huebrix was made for gamers far smarter and more clever than myself. It’s a little difficult to explain (if there was ever a visual game, it’s this one), but here goes: each level is a white box filled with individual cubes. There are single colored cubes with a number on them. This number is how many cubes this color can cover before it “runs out.” There are various other obstacles on the level to hinder your progress. Some obstacles can only be overtaken by a specific color. Others forces you to move in a specific direction. One will only allow you to enter if you’re using the last point of a color.
This sounds really confusing on paper, but the beauty of Huebrix is that it’s ridiculously simple to learn and understand when you actually play the game. The game is never difficult because it’s confusing: it’s difficult because it’s challenging. That’s a huge and vital difference.
Although it doesn’t need to look good (an addicting puzzle game get away with the simplest graphics possible), Huebrix does look good and it looks good in a surprising and unsuspecting way. There are no bright colors or flashy animations. Huebrix looks fantastic because it’s so incredibly un-busy. The animations are smooth and simple and the entire slightly muted mood of the game lends it a strangely intellectual mood…which is perfect for a puzzle game, really.
If there’s one real problem with Huebrix, it’s that I’m too dumb to play it. I’ve hit a wall. The game has defeated my feeble brain. At the same time, this must be the ultimate compliment: this is a puzzle game that will actually challenge you!
The Final Grade: A-