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XBox 360 Hexic HD
When you get your XBox 360 hard drive, it's pre-loaded with a free full copy of Hexic HD. This puzzler game is sort of like Tetris with a bit of hexagonal goodness.
You get a full square of hexagonal colored tiles. You can rotate any group of three of them, and your aim is to get blocks of three to vanish. If you make larger blocks - or cause cascades of blocks - you get more points. If you're able to get an actual ring of 6 hexes, you form a shiny silvery star. Once you get a star formed, you can spin the entire ring around the star as a unit, which makes your puzzle-solving efforts even more controllable.
As the game progresses you get colored stars for extra points, bombs to remove within a certain number of moves, more colors, and more challenges. If you're able to get six silver stars into a ring, you get the ultimate Black Pearl.
The game is great because there is no time pressure. It's not about how quickly you make your moves - it's about strategizing the ultimate combination to create a cascade of points. The music is soft and new-agey, to get you in the zone. On the high definition TV, the widescreen sides provide slowly moving hexes and colors, sort of like a live lava lamp.
If you want more of a fast paced challenge, they do have time trials and other options. I'm very fond of the basic game, though, with its easy going Lumines style Zenness.
One thing I really wish they'd fix is the tile set. I love other puzzle games where you have options for the tiles. Here your only options are the basic tiles - or tiles with patterns on them which looks VERY busy. On the other hand, if you leave the patterns off, and just go with the basic tiles, they have a dark blue and light blue which look almost exactly alike. Surely they had other colors to choose from besides those two. I would really have loved it if they offered a variety of tile styles to choose from.
Still, that's a minor complaint, and maybe they can actually fix that with a new downloadable version. I'd be quite happy to download new tile sets. In the meantime, for a free game, this is quite great!
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