Developer: Trouble Brothers
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Please note: Wizard Hex is a universal app, but this review is based on the iPhone version.

Wizard Hex, from Trouble Brothers, has all the hallmarks of a great board game. It can be played with two to six players, involves strategies both simple and complex, and requires only simple manipulation of your pieces. The game itself is rather ingenious. Unfortunately, the lack of a tutorial makes Wizard Hex unnecessarily difficult to learn.

Wizard Hex is played out on a (you guessed it!) hexagonal board. There are six “elements,” and you control one of them. The goal of the game is to either eliminate your opponent’s element pieces or to have the most board space when there are no legal moves left.

Each turn, you can make two moves; for each move, you can either place a new tile onto the board; attack another tile; or “build up” one of your existing tiles. However, in an interesting twist, you can control not only your own element, but also your neighboring, or “ally”, elements. This opens up a host of strategies—you can use other elements to attack and defend, but remember, it’s your pieces that count in the end.

Another interesting addition is full control over the setup of a game. So, you can use the traditional, default setup with your and your opponent squaring off; or, you can place yourself adjacent to your opponent so that you both share an ally. Different setups can radically alter gameplay. You can also play with any combination of computer AIs and human players, which is a nice touch.

Once you grasp the rules and nuances of Wizard Hex, it’s a fun, intriguingly deep strategy game with much potential. Unfortunately, at the moment its tutorial is too bare-bones to allow most players to fully appreciate the game; I had to go online to find out how certain rules worked. Surely that’s not what Trouble Brothers intended! However, that caveat aside, Wizard Hex is a great strategy game. It’s simple, without achievements, online play, or any other fancy features—but then, once you learn to play, Wizard Hex can stand on its own.

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