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Hexonia, by game developer ToggleGear, is a turn based strategy game. I downloaded this free game on Android from the Play Store, but it's also available on iOS from the AppStore. Similar to other games from the same genre, you start in your kingdom and battle your way throughout the map, turn by turn. Upgrade your kingdom as necessary and ward off the enemies. The goal is simple: to defeat all other enemies.
Before getting into the details, here are a list of reasons why I enjoyed playing Hexonia.
- Great graphics - the perfect amount of graphics not to overwhelm, but keep me interested.
- Easy to learn - there's a great tutorial mode to quickly teach the in and outs of the game.
- Randomly Generated Maps - Keep the game fresh by randomly generating the map for ever game.
- Short game - each game only takes 20-40 minutes, mostly depending on the difficulty and size of the map.
- Save functionality - even if you can't finish, you can save one game to continue next time.
- Many tribes - each gets one unique character plus a specific advantage. (Note that 3 tribes are free, the rest require in-game purchase, for each tribe)
- 4 difficulty levels (Trainee, Rookie, Elite, Master) - gain access to more advance difficulties as you beat lower levels.
- 3 map sizes - these correlated with the number of opponents. Play against 1 opponent on the smallest map an 3 opponents on the largest map.
The map is designed around the hexagon theme, where the tiles are all hexagon in a hexagonal world. I've personally notice more of this style of game, similar to the setup for Idle Kingdom Clicker. This style works well for Hexonia and brings a certain level of simplicity an familiarity.
Each tribes gets the base units. Some are melee (hand to hand combat) while others are ranged. Some have longer walking movements per turn. While others have the ability to attack, then retreat. Each tribe also have one unique special units with different abilities when your castles get upgraded.
Each castle has a region of influence where land resources can be collected and buildings built, all of which upgrade your castle for more money per turn. Build roads to connect towns to not only increase your castle, but to also increase the movements of all units (friend or foe).
In addition to movement on land, each uniquely generated map has the chance to contain water. For this, you must upgrade your tech to allow for boats. Again, different boats will have varying abilities to travel and attack.
The more castles you take over, the more upgrading tech will cost. This makes it imperative that you balance upgrading vs conquering other castles. Otherwise the upgrades will become prohibitively expensive.
A very nice feature is the unit attributes like health, attack, and defense are available right from the game play. And it works for any visible unit. Ultimately, this means you won't need to memorize the details of all the units.
There are many ways to approach the game. And often times the difficulty level will have an impact into how much strategy needs to be applied. I notice in rookie, the computer AI sometimes opts not to attack, even when it has a clear advantage. Elite and Master are much fairly more difficult. Where I can almost always win in Elite mode, I have a less than 50% chance of winning in Masters.
Though every map is different, there is still and overall strategy. Sometimes, the start location and surrounding resources are less than impressive, which may put you at a huge disadvantage. In rookie and elite, this can be overcome. However, a bad start setup can mean almost certain loss in Elite. An example, it's possible to be started on an island where you only have 1 or one other castles to start. This limits the ability to upgrade. Though the advantage is you're seclusion from the enemy, it's also much more difficult to break onto the mainland.
The main objective in the beginning is to spend 2 gold each to collect your local resource. That first upgrade will return 5 gold, so it's a no-brainer. Other than that, there are a few strategies that can be used from the start:
- Exploring - Spending the first few gold to create an extra explorer may be wise if you have nearby treasures, but I find this often times does not pay off, as that initial melee unit is quite weak.
- Upgrading - Spending gold early on to upgrade is often times worth it since the upgrades are more affordable. Just make sure the enemy can't make it in. I generally like to upgrade to the Swordsman, as I find they are quite strong and great at taking out bases.
- Defensive Positions - If you want to take a defensive position, I generally go for the Canon. This unit has amazing range and does great damage. It's good for defending against both water and land attackers and generally sit behind the scenes in well protected areas.
- Attacking - Knights are very effective at attacking, especially if you have roads established between your castles. Given their long range, they can easily go from one base to another in one turn with an attack. The only downside is they are on the weaker side, so you'll need a strong gold economy to keep churning out Knights.
- Roads - Roads are beneficial, as it allows all units to travel longer distances per turn. Just keep in mind that these same roads also allow your enemies to reach your base faster if you ever lose the offensive. The upside is the computer AI almost always establish roads, so if you don't upgrade the technology, you can always count on the computer to build roads in your attacking area for you.
For larger maps or levels requiring ships, Canons are great because they're high splash damage and can protect against a wide area. They are weaker if they are attacked, so it's good to have Swordsman nearby to finish the job.
Bombers are necessary in high numbers if you need to take your attack to the open seas via ships. Not only do bombers have splash damage, but they're also decently effective when they're back on land. They're much cheaper than Admirals, who tend to only perform best at sea. All other characters when at sea are only simple arrow units, so they should be protected by Bombers.
What is Missing: Wishlist?
So what is missing from such a perfectly implemented game is the ability to do multiplayer. The fact that game may take anywhere from 30-40 minutes may make it difficult to finish in one sitting, but playing another human would present a very different set of strategies vs playing the computer AI. Especially once you get the gist of the game, the challenge is gone. I suspect that most people get a good handle on the game within one week.
When you start the game, you get 3 free tribes. Then there are an additional 2 tribes that can be purchased with coins earned via daily 24 hours quests. Then there are a handful of tribes that can be purchased, but they cost between $1.99 and $2.99 per tribe, which I find to be steep for what you get. But I understand the game developer needs to monetize Hexonia.
Lastly, I wish you could play larger maps. The map size is automatic determined based on the number of enemies you choose when setting up a game. It would be interesting to see a 1 on 1 map with a large map.