I love puzzle games but I’m terrible at playing them. Still, I really love a challenge, particularly when it’s simple to get into but increasingly complex as you go along. And that’s exactly what Huebrix is – a clever puzzle game that’ll have you racking your brain for all it’s worth, with a ticking clock to add to the tension.
The premise is simple: fill a grid with color. Each level is a grid of blank squares, with colored blocks that expand finitely across the grid in only four directions, with a few interesting twists that make for very interesting gameplay. How many levels can you complete and how fast can you get through each of them? Let’s take a turn or two and find out if we’re up to the task!
HueBrix is a simple game that will help you pass the time on your phone, but may well take over every waking hour if you’re not careful. Created by Noodlecake Studios and Yellow Monkey Studios, the app works on devices running Android 2.2 and up, and has a free ad-supported version with 105 levels and a paid version (that you can buy as an add-on) that removes ads and comes with 300 more levels for US$0.99.
HueBrix has an attractive UI. The first level gets you used to things quickly
When you load the game for the first time, you can kick things off by selecting Quick Start, which takes you to the first level (or your last-played level if you choose this option later). The first level has a blue block marked with the numeral 3 and there are three empty white squares. All you have to do is drag the blue square to cover the empty squares.
The numeral on the color block denotes how many squares the block can expand to. You can drag it forward, left or right, but never diagonally or backwards, to cover as many blocks as possible. As you advance through levels, you’ll be greeted by different grids and more colored blocks to deal with. Also, you have to expand every block as far as they will go, and you can’t cross paths created by expanded blocks.
The graphics and animations are simple, yet stylish, while the music and sounds keep you engaged with your head in the game.
Sounds Easy, You Say?
Things get even more interesting as you go along, with various mechanisms introduced in further levels. You’ll find icons on some squares in the grid which affect the gameplay in that level – beginning with a gray square which is essentially a no-travel-allowed square. You’ll then encounter squares with small colored blocks, which require you to pass over them with a block of the same color.
Mechanisms like tunnels, collectible blocks and forced-direction squares shake things up
Other obstacles include an X-covered square which forces your block’s path to terminate at that square, tunnel squares at the edges of grids which allow your block to pass through and end up on the other side of the grid, arrows which force your block to extend in the direction they point in, + signs that extend your block even further and – signs that reduce the range of your block.
As if this wasn’t enough, the grid is never the same and there’s a clock that ticks away and determines whether you get a gold, silver, or bronze medal when you complete the puzzle — or nothing at all, save for a sarcastic remark!
Quick thinking and acting fast are essential to scoring medals
There are four levels of difficulty ranging from easy to insane. At the time of writing, I barely got through the starter level pack, and was thoroughly harangued by all the other levels I tried in the harder packs. What I really enjoy about the game is that one can learn to play it really quickly, but it takes a long while to master it.
No Cheating! Okay, Some Cheating…
HueBrix isn’t completely merciless to those of us who aren’t frequent at MENSA meetups; there are in-game hints that you can use, which show the path of a block that you select with the hint activated. It’s easy to run out of these pretty quickly, and that’s why the developers have made hints available for purchase — 19 hints for $0.99 and 99 hints for $2.99. Tempting indeed, but I’d advise you to play through as many levels as you can without looking for help.
Yes, it’s okay to use hints once in a while
As far as strategies go, all I can say is that it’s best to try less obvious paths while extending blocks. Other than that, you’ll have to rely on (or cultivate) your brain’s ability to visualize the paths that colored blocks can extend into — and that’s really the coolest part about HueBrix.
No, it never, ever gets easier
HueBrix is one of the best puzzle games I’ve laid my hands on in a while, and perhaps one of my favorite mobile games of all time, because of its simplicity and engaging nature. It’s great for keeping yourself occupied when waiting in line or at stores/offices for a few minutes, or even an hour or two if you’re on a roll.
The free version should keep you busy for quite a while, but I’d recommend paying for the level pack to support the developers and to remove ads. If you’re excited enough about this game that you can’t wait another second to play it, you can also play the web version over at Kongregate. Good luck staying sane!