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Art Style: ROTOHEX

by Steven Rodriguez - November 12, 2008, 6:39 pm EST
Total comments: 4


For those that didn't get the GBA import, here's the perfect chance to find out how difficult it is to get your hexagon on.

Only after I started playing through Rotohex for WiiWare did I realize that I did what a lot of Nintendo fans do without batting an eyelash: buy the same Nintendo game a second time, but on a different platform. I already imported (and reviewed) Dialhex, the Game Boy Advance bit Generation game and the forerunner of Rotohex. What irks me is that with the exception of a new mode in Rotohex, the games are identical. You probably won't mind, however, since chances are you didn't bother importing the original. Still, I didn't mind playing through the game again because Rotohex is a much better experience on a console, albeit a relatively shallow one.

Rotohex is a puzzle game wherein triangular tiles fall into a hexagonal playfield. By rotating pieces within a hexagonal cursor, players must create solid, six-piece hexes which will clear away, opening up more room for tiles to tinkle down. The game ends when the playfield fills to the brim. Gameplay centers around clearing hexes of a target color and generally keeping the field from getting too full. When cleared within a hex, special tiles can cause a hole to open at the bottom and drain extra tiles to get you out of danger, or cause all tiles of a certain color to switch to that of an adjacent tile, making it that much easier to clear away hexes of the required target color.

Solo mode is the initial challenge players will be faced with. Clearing six hexes of a target color will add a new tile color to the game, ultimately bringing eight different colors into the mix. The unique nature of the rotating, hexagonal cursor means it can be pretty challenging to spin the correct tiles into the correct position fast enough to stay ahead of the raining tiles. It's key to keep your special tiles ready to put into a hex so you can use them in a pinch. As you get close to completing Solo the difficulty ramps up considerably, giving you extra pressure to clear it. It's a very enjoyable challenge.

Special tiles are neat because they change functionality with every rotation, meaning you need to make sure it will do what you want as you slide it into position. I found that the color-swap ability is extremely useful when there's space available to work with, since getting tiles to switch to the target color makes clearing the required six hexes that much easier. However, sometimes the nature of hexagonal rotation will cause you to spend way too much time clearing a hex, so you need to be very efficient and plan to clear hexes as quickly as possible.

Rotohex has added a new mode from Dialhex called Sprint. Here the goal is to clear six hexes of the target color as quickly as possible. This mode gets more and more difficult as you add more colors to the playfield, since there will be fewer tiles of the color you need to beat the round. On top of that, tiles fall in at a hopelessly fast rate. If you're not clearing tiles one after the other in this mode you're going to fail very quickly. I'm having no luck whatsoever clearing the five-color mode; I’m lucky to get four out of six of the required colors. I can't imagine how impossible it gets when there are eight colors to deal with. Still, this mode is pretty much the ultimate challenge for someone who can easily deal with Solo mode, gets bored by the endless deluge of tiles in Endless mode, and has no problem beating up a buddy in the game's traditional garbage-dumping Versus mode

The thing I like most about Rotohex, especially when compared to the GBA version, is the upgraded sound. There's a Lumines-esque soothing feel to it, complemented by the tinkle of the falling tiles and the mood change accompanied by an ever-changing color palette. In an attempt to pretty up the flat playfield, a mirror-like reflective border rings the hexagon, though this has the negative effect of making it difficult of seeing where the border actually lies. Another strike against the game is the sometimes unwieldy Wii Remote pointer controls. It can be hard to get the cursor exactly where you need it in a hurry and keep it there, which is why I prefer to play the game holding the remote in the classic sideways position.

Besides these issues, the only other problem with the game is perhaps its largest one: there isn't as much depth as you wish there was. For me, the addition of Sprint mode adds much more replay value to a game I've already played, but I still find it lacking in other areas. Then again, considering the game's low WiiWare-friendly price point, it's a good deal in the end. More than anything, I'm glad that Nintendo is finally releasing these games to the American game-buying public in one form or another. Let's hope we see more Art Style games on WiiWare in the near future.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
3 7 7 7 4 7

There's not much you can do to pretty up flat triangles, but the things that were done, particularly the reflective playfield border, don't work very well.


The sound generated by the soothing background music and the interactive sound effects made by the steady rain of tiles make for a very simplistic, yet dynamic, aural experience.


The traditional sideways Wii Remote configuration is as tight as can be, though it will take a lot of practice to figure out how to best manipulate tiles to your advantage. The pointer option could work better with practice, but I didn't bother with it much because of how much trouble I had keeping the pointer where I wanted to point it.


I really like the idea of the spinning cursor and triangular pieces working together to make and clear hexagons. Rotohex is quite the challenging puzzle game, too. Still, I really wish this idea was further explored rather than just sticking to the same basic idea appearing in similar gameplay modes.


Not bad at all considering its low price, but you'll really feel like there should have been more to this game then what you get.


Rotohex is by no means the best puzzle game you will play this year, but I recommended it solely on the basis of it being a completely different puzzle game that will challenge you in new ways.


  • Soothing music and sound
  • Unique and challenging gameplay concept
  • Doesn't come in a sweet little shiny game box
  • Somewhat shallow
Review Page 2: Conclusion


AVNovember 13, 2008

i like the idea of these games, i just wish nintendo wouldn't cap it at $5. All the art style games would be nice at 2-400 point range. That way you can buy it with remainder points.

Anyway I am a little crazy and I think Nintendo is going to release like 10 of these games and than suddenly without warning have a collection to buy for like $30 in stores.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusNovember 13, 2008

Quote from: Mr.

i like the idea of these games, i just wish nintendo wouldn't cap it at $5. All the art style games would be nice at 2-400 point range. That way you can buy it with remainder points.

The idea of points-based transaction systems is that you see you have unusable points remaining and you have no choice but to buy more points to be able to use them, only leaving you with more unusable points.  And lo, microtransactions.

vuduNovember 13, 2008

Quote from: Mr.

i like the idea of these games, i just wish nintendo wouldn't cap it at $5. All the art style games would be nice at 2-400 point range.

Considering the Art Style games cost 600 points each, I don't think the 500 point minimum has much effect on the pricing.

We don't even know if 500 points is the minimum.  Maybe no WiiWare developer has found a way to go less than that and still make money.  Some are doubling that and still losing money (because their games suck and don't sell).

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Genre Puzzle
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Art Style: ROTOHEX
Release Oct 27, 2008
jpn: Art Style Series: DIALHEX
Release May 12, 2009
RatingAll Ages
eu: Art Style: ROTOHEX
Release Dec 05, 2008
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