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Huebrix (Windows Phone) review: Deceptively simple, without being repetitive

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There are 400 levels beyond the first thirty, in increasing order of difficulty. But don't let that stop you: you can play them in any order you'd like, knocking out a few of the quicker puzzles while you're on the bus, and tackling the behemoths when you've got a bit more time to kill -- some of the game's final puzzles can take well over 20 minutes.

An uphill slog

I won't say that Huebrix gets repetitive, though there's no way I'd be able to check each and every puzzle to make sure particular elements were being reused. The game's music track can be a little grating -- it sits somewhere between game show and police drama, nervous tension wrapped up in a peppy package but playing incessantly. And then there's the heart of the matter: does anyone really want to grind through over 400 of these little challenges?

I do. And I want to get gold medals, too -- I'm a bit of completionist that way. Games like Threes are fine and all -- Threes is fantastic, actually, and you should check it out . But it's built around mastering a particular system and then getting really good at surviving for longer and longer periods of time. A worthy challenge to be sure, but sometimes I want that proverbial end of the tunnel to shoot for. Huebrix offers that. And while it's an especially long tunnel, it only requires patience, and not luck or awesome feats of dexterity. Better still, the only penalty for taking a really, really long time to solve a puzzle is a bit of snark -- you're always welcome to try again.

There's plenty of variety in the puzzles, but a level editor would still have been a nice touch. Screenshots by Nate Ralph/CNET

Huebrix is available on iOS and Android, though there are differences among every version. The iOS variant gets a level editor, but you'll end up paying extra in in-app purchases to unlock all of the game's levels. That's a bit of deal breaker for me, as having all of these puzzles right up front is kind of the point. The Android version lacks a level editor, but the levels are all unlocked: you'll just be paying for hints. Windows Phone owners don't need no stinkin' hints, which is great because they aren't available anyway. It's all rather confusing, but from a bang-per-buck perspective it would seem that Windows Phone users win out here. A level editor would've been sweet, though.


I'd argue that Huebrix deserves to be plopped onto that puzzle-game pedestal alongside games like Threes and Cut the Rope 2 . Sure, it doesn't have anywhere near the level of charm and polish as those two popular titles, and its minimalist graphics aren't going to win any awards.

But that's OK! What it lacks in pizzazz it more than makes up for in pure, concentrated entertainment value, building upon a simple premise to deliver hours of brain-teasing fun. For two bucks! If you've got a Windows Phone and like the occasional puzzle, give Huebrix a go. And if you're looking for a few more good options, check out some more great Windows Phone games.

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