‘Hex’ Is The ‘Tetris’ Style VR Puzzle Game You’ve Been Waiting For

by Joe Durbin • July 27th, 2016

An upcoming and never before revealed video game for the Samsung Gear VR mobile virtual reality headset may have what it takes to become the simple, engaging, and addicting go-to experience that the headset has been aching for.

Tell me if this situation sounds familiar: your parents just broke the news to you that it’s time for the annual trip to Mee Maw McGrandma’s place up in the foothills. You groan internally knowing that this means a four hour flight at least and then a two hour trip in a rented Ford Fusion just to get to her vaguely cat-smelling cottage.

For most kids this would be a sentence worse than broccoli, but not for you because upstairs in your room is a chunky grey brick with a vomit green screen. This brick is your gateway to strange and wonderful new worlds with names like Hyrule, Kanto, and — of course — Tetris.

In these worlds time passes in a blink and before you know it, that crusty old Ford will be rolling up to Grandma’s — who actually makes some pretty amazing cookies — in no time.

tetris art

Nintendo’s Gameboy was a portable and intuitive entertainment system featuring games like Tetris that were simple, satisfying, and — most importantly — addictively fun. Today, a new portable, intuitive entertainment system exists and it’s called the Samsung Gear VR. Mobile virtual reality headsets like the Gear offer a similar time guzzling promise that the Gameboy did in the 90’s. But, while Nintendo had Tetris, Samsung, and partner company Oculus, currently do not yet have an application with the same pick-up-and-play, always enjoyable, just-one-more-round style of gameplay.

An upcoming game called Hex, however, is hoping to change that very soon.

Hex is a Gear VR puzzle game developed by the one man wrecking crew that is Andy Borrell. Borrell’s day job is at Oculus, but as a passion project he has developed Hex for a release on August 17. Borrell has not set a final price for Hex just yet but he says that something in the range of $2.99 is “likely.”

In an email to UploadVR Borrell provided the above video for Hex — which represents the first gameplay footage he has ever released — along with his own description of the upcoming puzzler:

“It’s a fast paced puzzle game. Sort of a mixture of Tetris and Blockbusters (with Bob Holness),” writes Borrell. “The game focuses on taking a simple mechanic, adding variations on it, and then just making it faster and faster.  There’s quite a lot of skill involved, and it does get quite hard – in a good way!”

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According to Borrell, Hex is comprised of 45 levels, most of which are broken up into 7 stages each and, “the story is that each stage is a planetary system infested with ‘Hexoids’;  each level is a planet in the system. Your goal is to eradicate this epidemic from the galaxy,” according to Borrell.

Achieving victory in each level requires you to make a continuous line of a single color from the top of the gameplay grid to the bottom. Borrell explains that, “pieces start out in the distance and float towards you, you can grab them at any point, but once they hit the grid they lock in place and can’t be moved (this is what makes the game frantic).”

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The pieces are randomly generated, making each play through of Hex a unique and challenging one.

On paper, Hex has all the trappings of a time-dilating Tetris-like game: simple yet intellectual  gameplay, random puzzles to solve within a logical system, and game mechanics that are perfectly suited for quick, on the go sessions. Combine all of this with the portability and immersive power of the Gear VR and we may have a very real contender for the title of “travel game” on our hands here folks.

Come August 17, that next trip to Grandma’s may go even faster.

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