• Review: Huebrix

    Another day, another iOS puzzler that's a little different, a little the same, and ultimately, a very good game, if a little repetitive. That's Huebrix.

    In many ways, Huebrix reminds me a lot of the other iOS puzzler Trainyard, one of the more popular puzzler that was based around a grid-based system. Huebrix has the same grid-based system and the same puzzle mechanics, only instead of drawing tracks for the trains to travel and reach their destination, you're drawing arrays of coloured blocks.

    The premise of Huebrix is pretty simple: each level has a number of grid squares, and one or more starting blocks. Each of these starting blocks has a number, which decreases with every square covered; by covering other initially empty squares with the path originating from any of the coloured starting blocks, the number inside the starting block decreases.

    Huebrix doesn't really explain well, but trust me when I say it makes perfect sense when you're actually playing the game. There are starter levels that introduce you to the basic concept of making coloured blocks, as well as serve as introductions for a few of the special blocks you'll come across, and tease your brain ever-so-slightly with the simplest of puzzles.

    Special squares can include simple coloured blocks which can only be traversed with a path of the same colour, or other blocks that force you to go a certain way, other blocks still which increase or decrease the starting block's number, or even the special ending block which doesn't allow you to go anywhere else.

    Put you thinking caps on when you're playing Huebrix, because you'll need it. Sure, you might be able to complete levels: some levels will fly by as you try and succeed with your first try, others will laugh in your face as you try multiple combinations of square, paths, and colours. Multiple starting blocks will be amongst the hardest puzzles you'll face when playing Huebrix, but even some of the single colour, single starting block puzzles will leave you scratching your head.

    Oh, and if the puzzles themselves weren't enough: there's also a time-based aspect to the game, too. Solve a puzzle fast enough and you'll be awarded with a gold medal. Solve it slightly slower, and maybe you'll get silver, bronze, or perhaps no medal at all.

    And if you're really stuck on a particular level, you can choose to use a hint, which works by solving one starter block for you. This works pretty well, either allowing you to solve an entire puzzle (if it's one of the single starter block puzzles), or allowing you to get a small glimpse into the solution for that particular puzzle.

    Speaking of which, there can be more than one solution to each puzzle. Sometimes you'll redo a level just to get that gold medal, and in doing so, you might find a different solution. Not every puzzle has more than one solution, but quite a few do.

    Another aspect which makes Huebrix a lot like Trainyard is the ability to create and share your own puzzles to send to friends. Only instead of having a web component to share levels with others, the sharing is done via Game Center's multiplayer game matching, from which you can either invite friends or have Game Center find you a friend to play with.

    I enjoyed my time with Huebrix. The starter levels aren't all that challenging, but things start to really ramp up during some of the later level packs. The game comes with four level packs to begin with, each containing anywhere from 20 to 35 puzzles, but there are an additional 17 packs ranging from easy to insane difficulty they're also available as an all-in-one mega-pack for $10.49, if you really enjoy teasing your brain. You can also buy more hints *but be warned, the game laughs at you when you purchase 99 hints for $4.49.

    Huebrix is pretty good fun. Yes, there's a lot of start-stop interspersed between head-scratching, but it's one of those games that you don't have to invest tens of hours in. Maybe there isn't a lot of replability, but with over 400 levels to play with, you won't be running out of puzzles anytime soon. Huebrix is 99 cents in our local App Store, and is worth a look if you're into colourful puzzlers that throw you the occasional curve ball.
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