I know what some people might comment with right off the bat. Some may think I’ve misspelt the name of the game. I promise you this is no mistake. This is how the developer spells it on Steam. Why they’ve spelt it this way is beyond me, but they have. But let’s not get too caught up on that as its really just a name.
Having said that, there is a reason this game interested me. I have mentioned my interest in vintage computers a number of times. When I saw this game come up in my Steam recommendations, it seemed to be reminiscent somewhat of the early Space Invaders arcase game. It obviously wasn’t a direct clone but seemed to follow that same game style. Is this just a simple recreation or is there a little bit more to it?
The game itself is extremely simple. The comparison to Space Invaders above is probably a slight simplification, but if you’re familiar with Space Invaders, it’s not too far off. The whole point of the game is that you’re flying a spaceship. There are other craft coming to attack you, and your goal is to shoot them down. There are also obstacles that you can crash into that can take you out as well.
Like many games of this style, Hexagonal Explods gets progressively more challenging as the game progresses.
As I’ve found, the game requires extremely quick reflexes. This is an extremely fast paced game, so you don’t want to dawdle your way through it. I’ve spent a lot of time crashing into things because my reflexes are not as quick as they should be.
One thing to note is it took me a moment to work out the controls. You would think once you select the Play Game option in the menu, you should be able to press Enter to start. Turns out you need to hit the ‘X’ key, which is one of the fire buttons. This may confuse a lot of people, as this doesn’t seem to be at all documented or obvious.
The game is otherwise actually done very well. The rules of the game are fairly easy to get your head around. It’s fast paced enough to bring out your competitive edge, but not so fast as to be impossible. You just need to have quick reflexes.
The only thing that really let the game down is the level of documentation. There doesn’t need to be much, just enough to get your head around the controls as these may be confusing for some users.
It has been very common over the last few years to have a more ‘retro’ look to your graphics. This seems to broadly follow the interest in vintage computing, particularly that era from the 1980s and early 1990s. It is very clear that this has influenced the art style in Hexagonal Explods, as well as the very chiptune-sounding soundtrack. The graphics have been done extremely well, as has the music.
The only criticism I have is that you only have the option of running the game in a window. You can change to full screen by pressing ALT+ENTER, but this doesn’t appear to be documented anywhere. You’re only going to know this if you are already familiar with the standard Windows keyboard shortcuts. Having this documented or having some graphics controls in the main menu to set this, would be worth doing.
The game itself is actually great. As a cheap game that can be used as a bit of a time filler it is actually a good option. For those that want something that is Space Invaders-esque then you could do worse than this.
The only improvements I could suggest would be how well documented the game is, so that people can both learn the controls without resorting to trial and error, and are aware of the ability to switch between window and full-screen mode.