Floundering around for a handy reference point for the way I feel about Hexanome, I ended up grabbing hold of See/saw.
Not because there's any similarity with the core gameplay, nor simply because I've played See/saw so recently. Okay, maybe a bit of that last one.
Mainly, though, it's because See/saw and Hexanome aim for a similar level of elegance through simplicity. While this reductive approach won my affection in See/saw, however, it leaves me rather cold in Hexanome.
Putting a hex on youHexanome is a simple turn-based maze-running puzzler. You tap on a hexagonal grid to move your little triangle forward, with the goal of collecting all of the squares that are littered around the board.
In your way are such things as floor tiles that will solidify as you approach and patrolling guards, all of which require some clever flanking manoeuvre. At certain points you'll be able to switch into a secondary playing piece to double up on the problems.
It's all very clean and crisp and polished, in a rather stark and soulless way.
A wee bit chillyThat I never quite warmed to Hexanome is down to more than just its icy aesthetic, though. There's just something about the turn-based core mechanic that I found unsatisfying and even a little vague.
Plotting out a route that circumvents materialising walls, all while keeping your move count to the bare minimum, simply feels like a bit of a slog. I never felt compelled to play the next level through anything other than duty.
It's hard to put your finger on why, as it's easy to see that the game has been executed with considerable intelligence and skill. But there's no joy or colour to the game, either literally or figuratively.
Peaks and troughsI used See/saw as an example of a brutally simplified game that wins you over with its kinetic energy, but perhaps a more direct recent comparison would be Golf Peaks.
That too is a fairly straight-forward turn-based puzzler, but it sparks with life and purpose through its sporting conceit. It takes a dry, abstract premise and inserts a ladle full of fun and context, and it's all the more memorable for it.
While Hexanome is mechanically sound and technically tight, it remains a curiously distant and uninvolving puzzler.