Game Designer: Alexy Pajitnov
Hexic HD (2006)
It’s difficult for a puzzle game to be simple enough to pick up and play, challenging enough to make you start formulating stratagem and fun enough that you complete even a single game and addictive enough that you keep coming back to it. A while ago I said that Gran Turismo HD (for PlayStation 3) was the best freebie ever delivered alongside a console but Hexic HD (for Xbox 360), though not original premium content or an audio-video system showcase, is just as good.
The odd thing is that there is a free PC version of this game and a pay-for PC version (which, criminally, appear to be functionally identical save for the fact that the pay-for version can be resized) neither of which work as well as the Xbox 360 version. The gameplay is exactly the same except the PC version requires two mouse clicks to rotate pieces in the opposite direction to your previous rotation and there do not appear to be any keyboard controls.
The 360 version also has nicer designed graphics, better sound and music. Critically, the 360 version gives you the ability to rotate your pieces in either direction with a single button. It also has achievements and Xbox Live leaderboards. The achievements are peculiarly satisfying and, I feel, the most visible best thing about Xbox Live in general.
Another great thing about the Xbox 360 version is that you can leave any of the three modes at any time, even quitting the game entirely, and come back and pick up where you left off. Each of the three modes maintains its position separately. This means it is perfect for pick-up-and-play moments while, for example, you are waiting a few minutes for a download to complete. Naturally, you’ll spend the next hour playing Hexic HD!