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The Ugly Monster

# PEGBRJE: HexaCycle and VIRTUA BLINDS

## Relax, do some logic puzzles and vaporwave.

HexaCycle is a shape-centric puzzle game created by aBigThinkGames, a solo indie dev. Players will be thrust in to a world of brightly coloured hexagons with the hope of connecting two lines together between them, while simultaneously ensuring that at the end they are all the same colour. If that sounds a bit confusing, you are not alone . The dual objective nature of this puzzle title is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Players will have a ‘goal colour’ indicated at the top. All of the tiles need to be that colour when they end the puzzle. Each tile can be any number of colours set by the tile-legend above. When they cycle, it will be from left to right based on the colours presented. For example, the above puzzle is a five tile cycle, so if a tile is red it will become white, then green before cycling back to blue.

This omits a crucial question; how do we actually cycle the tiles? That is where the second goal comes in, for the player is also attempting to connect the two hexagons that are nestled within the cracks of the shapes. This is done by selecting the spaces between the shapes to create lines that snake around them; this is how the tiles cycle. Every time a new line is formed, every tile next to the newly created line will cycle through the colours above.

What this creates is a game of planning, where players will be attempting to create trails that can flip the tiles around to the green perfectly so that when they connect the tiny hexagons together, the entire board is green. It’s similar to the thought processes of sudoku and logic puzzles. There are few ‘correct’ answers, so discovering which path is correct can take time. This is further exacerbated when new ‘special’ tiles are introduced, cycling adjacent tiles based on their shapes such as the star burst or the circle.

HexaCycle doesn’t let players to ‘make mistakes’ in the traditional sense. Attempting to put down a line that does not work for the solution will be met with an angry noise. Instead, a ‘mistake’ will be counted at the top right, rather than players putting down an incorrect line and finding out it is wrong later on. This can also be turned off for a true test, but I don’t recommend that for fear of being stranded on a single solution for hours.

HexaCycle provides that visual logic puzzle you might have been hunting for, combining the need for preemptive movement with a maze-like map style. It can be a bit frustrating at first, especially if you turn off mistakes, but trial and error is your best friend. Give it a whirl if that is your jam.

VIRTUA BLINDS is a vaporwave relaxation simulation created by daffodil, an indie dev. This title features an utterly relaxing setting of the past for those who just need the feeling of sunlight coming through some old blinds.

Present in the room of VIRTUA BLINDS is a small TV monitor and remote, along with some sticky notes that can be read. Turning on the TV also brings in the music, which plays continuously depending on which of the three channels players decide to remain on. On the right is a lamp, which can be turned on to illuminate the MIDI pad available to be toyed with. This is where the real fun can begin, because each knob available can alter the entire state of the room. One of them will alter time, kicking the music, and day/night cycle, in to high gear or slowing it down to a crawl. Many of the sliders will manipulate the blinds themselves, altering their orientation and colour to give some sweet patterns and aesthetics to relax to. The buttons can add new music elements to the songs, introducing new styles and even some vocals in to the mix. And yet another knob will lower the room in to the water seen outside. Don’t worry about how. Just relax, it will be fine.

This isn’t really a game in the traditional sense. But, much like the fireplace that came pages before, I felt the need to include it primarily because of what it is. It gives you the ability to set up an aesthetic, press some buttons here and there while watching the sun roll by and the stars come out, and just relax. It’s a lovely time to witness, even if it doesn’t last all that long. If you need that kind of break, then you’ve found it.

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## Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.