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Wii Fanboy Review: Art Style: Rotohex

JC Fletcher, @jcfletcher
October 28, 2008
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When I first played Rotohex, I understood on a basic level how I was supposed to play the game, but I couldn't imagine a distant future in which I could play the game. I could not make my mind process the act of rotating triangles to create same-colored hexagons. I think it's the hexagons -- whatever it is, it felt a lot more mentally taxing than most puzzle games, and I failed within a few minutes on my first try.

Then, during subsequent attempts, I began to experience a bit more success. I started instinctively knowing how to position blocks, without consciously knowing what was happening. The world outside of my TV dropped away and I entered a prolonged Rotohex fugue state until the rush of falling triangles overwhelmed me and, half an hour later or so, I was dumped back into reality.

To me, that combination of total focus and trancelike hypnotism is the ideal result of a good falling-block puzzle game. You sort of forget about the world, and you even forget to think about what you're doing, and things just happen on the screen as your dinner gets cold.


Rotohex is, like Orbient, a remake of a bit Generations game, this time Dialhex -- and plays absolutely identically. A large hexagon slowly fills with different-colored triangles, and the player uses a hexagonal cursor to select and rotate groups of triangles to form hexagonal groupings of six same-colored triangles. Occasional powerups will change the colors of pieces or open a hole at the bottom of the playing field through which pieces will drop. When you're doing well, the game adds more colors. A round of Rotohex ends when the playing field is filled. The GBA game used only the d-pad and buttons to select areas, obviously, but Rotohex offers the choice between the traditional method and pointing, which allows you to traverse the field much more accurately and naturally.

In terms of visuals, Rotohex is a much closer remake than Orbient. It looks almost exactly like the GBA game. Skip took advantage of the Wii's processing power with a few subtle visual effects, like a reflection around the edges of the field, and a faint light emanating from the cursor area, but Rotohex could pass for Dialhex in screenshots. This isn't a complaint at all -- many bit Generations fans were put off by the 3D-ness of Orbient, and this shouldn't be anywhere near as offensive.

There are relatively few options: single- and multiplayer modes, and an endless mode in which triangles fall at an increasing rate while the game keeps count of your cleared hexes. But that's just par for the course for a WiiWare puzzle game, and to be honest you don't need more than just "clear hexes alone" and "clear hexes with someone else."

I alluded to the learning curve before, and I feel like I must stress this: if you're anything like me, you will panic the first time you play Rotohex. You may never want to play the game again. But try it again. Your brain will start to reconfigure itself to Rotohex mode.

Final score: 8/10


We're always looking for new games to enjoy. We've got plenty of other WiiWare reviews, if you're into that kind of thing.. If you're so crazy that you want to go to the store and buy something when you could be playing World of Goo or Mega Man 9, we can help with that, too.














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