Sometimes, when a game drops into our inbox here at IGM Mobile, I immediately want to play it. Tribase Studio‘s new iOS title Hexi was one of those games. I’m a sucker for a good platformer and Hexi looked as if it could be just that, but also be a little different at the same time. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and get jumping.
Hexi takes elements of classic platforming style and merges it with the familiar catapult mechanism of a well-known game featuring furious avian beasts to produce a smart and engaging experience. You play as the titular Hexi, a hexagonal metal nut whose poor friends (a range of nuts, bolts and other toolbox paraphernalia) have been captured and turned into evil tools. You have to save Hexi’s friends across a variety of stages by jumping between platforms and dropping on the heads of enemies while avoiding being touched or falling to your doom. It’s a classic formula, but in Hexi, while you can roll around using the left and right buttons, the jump mechanic is a little different from your average platformer. Taking it’s queue from Angry Birds, jumping requires you to place your finger on Hexi and drag in the direction away from which you want to propel the little metal hero through the sky. The further away you pull, the further Hexi will jump.
Furthering the Angry Birds motif – although to be fair a lot of games do this now – there are three stars to achieve on each level which means you’ll probably be playing through each one a few times to perfect your score. In order to get those three stars, you need to collect washers which litter the levels like rings in a Sonic The Hedgehog game or middle-aged women’s underpants at a Tom Jones gig. Simply collect all of those shiny washers to get three stars. This is trickier than it sounds though as some of those washers are hidden away in hard to reach areas. It will take some perseverance to find everything, especially since a lot of those jumps will see you fall off the bottom of the screen if you’re not careful, losing one of the five lives you have per level.
It’s not the unique mechanic that endeared me to Hexi though, it’s the adorable art style and great music. Hexi himself is cute as a button and the enemies are suitably grumpy looking. The environment takes a leaf out of the Little Big Planet book and uses cardboard cut-out style backgrounds, clouds and rocket smoke to make things feel lovingly hand-made. The music is also reminiscent of LBP, being a little bit twee yet fun. It’s no bad thing to take after Little Big Planet in my opinion; it was a truly fantastic game and a lot can be learned from it.
Learning from LBP seems to be something Tribase Studios are keen on as Hexi offers up a range of alternate costumes that you can unlock along the way or pay for via in-app purchases. These costumes add an extra element of fun to proceedings – you can dress Hexi up as a surfer, give him a Hawaiian shirt or even make him look like Wolverine – but they don’t change how the game is played. It might be interesting to see what could be done if those costumes could change things though; imagine a costume that allows for a higher jump or magnetic ability to draw washers nearer. It certainly could add to the replay value and variety factors by giving you skills later in the game which you could then use in earlier levels.
In addition to being able to purchase fancy dress for Hexi, you can also purchase more levels. The first 10 levels come bundled with the free download of the app itself as a little amuse bouche to give you an appetite for rolling and jumping, but the remainder must be purchased by unlocking the full version of the game. At a mere $0.99 though, it’s a bargain.
Hexi goes above and beyond the expectations of a regular platformer by giving you an unexpected bonus – a level creator. You can create your own levels and download more if you’ve unlocked the full version. It’s a fairly basic tool but still a nice thing to have. I’m sure there will be plenty of people out there capable of creating some really intricate and devilish contraptions out of it. Cleverly, it prevents people from being too fiendish as you must be able to play through and complete your level before it can be saved.
The only real flaw I found with Hexi was the enemies that appear in the levels. Those dastardly tools trying to prevent Hexi from saving his friends. I found that some of the enemies were so tall that Hexi really struggled to jump high enough to land on their heads, requiring a very precise jump to get there. This was especially true if trying to jump on an enemy who was on a platform above the one that Hexi was on. You could try and jump onto the platform first, but that requires extremely good reflexes as most enemies take up about a third or more of the platform, giving you very little space to prepare your jump before they turn around and get you. There also seemed to be a small area around the enemies that could clip Hexi and make him lose a life, direct contact wasn’t always needed. An added element of difficulty and occasional irritation.
Overall I had a lot of fun playing Hexi. It’s not a world beater by any means, but for the very small price that it has to get the full version, it provides great value for money and you could do a lot worse for $0.99.
- Fun style and music
- Clever jumping system
- Tricky to jump on some enemies