Honeycomb Beat DS
Published by: Rising Star Games
Developed by: Hudson
Release Date: Out Now
The DS is the perfect system for puzzle games and it’s no surprise that the handheld boasts some impressive puzzle games in its catalogue. Honeycomb Beat from Hudson is the latest puzzle game to arrive on the DS and, all things considered, it’s an enjoyable puzzler that can easily fill hours as well as minutes of your free time.
Honeycomb Beat offers two game modes, Puzzle Mode and Evolution Mode, as well as a Tutorial to teach you the basics of the game. The basics of the game are actually pretty simple. You have a collection of touching hexagonal tiles (hence the honeycomb reference) and you have to flip the tiles by touching them with your stylus (the game refers to this action as ‘Beating’) until every tile is the same colour. However when you touch a tile it not only flips itself, it also causes the surrounding panels to flip.
In addition to the basic tile flipping there are a few other things to consider. There are Count Panels (tiles with numbers on them) that won’t flip until you’ve touched them or touched an adjacent tile the number of times displayed on the tile. When you touch the Count Panel or an adjacent tile the number will decrease by one until eventually it returns to being a normal tile that will flip in the usual manner. Vectors are tiles that only flip tiles in a set direction. The direction they will flip tiles is shown by the arrow marking on the tile. You can have Vectors that flip horizontal and diagonal lines of tiles. You can also have a Non-Vector which only flips the tile you touch. You can apply Vector Labels, which are available from the Vector Stock, to help you solve your puzzle. The Count Panels and Vectors really add some depth to the puzzle solving.
The game’s Puzzle Mode gives you 200 puzzles to work your way through. These puzzles start off really easy and get progressively more difficult. For each puzzle you’ll have a beat count that will give you an idea of how many touches you should take to make every tile the same colour. For instance, a puzzle with a beat count of 3 should be solved within three touches. If Puzzle Mode offers an unrushed and thought provoking way of passing the time then Evolution Mode is the mode that’s going to make you sweat. In Evolution Mode you have a mass of panels that slowly rises from the bottom of the screen to the top. Essentially you have to clear the tiles one line at a time. To complete each level you have to remove the specified number of lines. If the mass of panels should reach the top of the screen it’s game over. As with Puzzle Mode, the levels in Evolution mode are manageable to begin with but the difficulty soon ramps up and the later levels provide a stern challenge for the most seasoned puzzle expert.
Honeycomb Beat has been presented simply, but effectively. Naturally a game that’s based around hexagonal tiles isn’t going to be anything other than simple looking but this is one of those games where fancy visuals aren’t necessary. The game plays out on the touch screen with the top screen displaying different visualisations. The game uses no speech at all and all information, including the tutorials, is displayed exclusively via text making it perfect for deaf gamers.
Honeycomb Beat is a fine puzzle game that’s equally suitable for a few minutes or a few hours of your time. Priced at under £20 it also represents solid value for money. The game provides four save slots so if other members of your household are DS gamers you’ll be able to share the game, safe in the knowledge that no one can affect your progress in the game. There aren’t any multiplayer options in the game however. It would certainly have been good to have played Evolution Mode competitively and maybe even challenge a friend to complete the puzzles in the quickest time. That said, there’s little to complain about and if you’re a fan of puzzle games then Honeycomb Beat is well worth the asking price.