Neuroshima Hex has just received an update they are calling “built for comfort”. The most significant change is the addition of a new in-game menu, which indeed makes gameplay more comfortable.
At any time during your turn, you can now access this menu and either undo your last action, view the manual, or enter information mode. The latter feature allows you to select any token on the board, friend or foe, and receive a brief description of it. This makes gameplay a LOT easier than it was, and it addresses one of our major qualms with the game.
The update also included a number of bug fixes– most of which made the AI more efficient, which means that the difficulty is still a bit steep for non-strategy buffs. For those who are into strategy, this update makes the game much more enjoyable, and allows your strategy to be that much more involved. Oh, and you can brag about your scores on Facebook and Twitter now too.
A good while after Neuroshima Hex’s last update, a pretty substantial update has refreshed the entry in our books. The biggest change is the addition of multiplayer, and it was hard not to notice the other two changes: two new armies and a better tutorial for all the major aspects of the game.
Multiplayer works pretty well, and allows for private and public games with up to three other players, complete with chat and the ability to create your own profile (plus more profiles for friends). This is a major addition, and we appreciated it greatly. Our only complaints are the occasional connection issues, including being mysteriously jettisoned out of a game, though this flaw is softened by the ability to rejoin the game (which usually works). Additionally, multiplayer is designed to be asynchronous, but functionally it can play like real-time if you’re playing with strangers, due to the relatively short nature of each turn.
The two new armies are New York and Neo-Jungle, and they are both $1.99 in-app purchases, which seems steep to us for a game that already costs $4.99. From our experience, these new armies pack quite a punch, so that might be how the developers reward players for reaching deeper into their pockets.
Lastly, the game now hosts a tutorial screen that brings players through the major parts of the game, from multiplayer to the battle phases, and it provides a straightforward rundown for newbies (and those returning after this update). There’s still a rather steep learning curve, and you’ll still need the manual, but the game now provides all the tools for a dedicated player to learn how to master the game.
All of these features have combined to make Neuroshima Hex much more polished and enjoyable than its original version, and the addition of multiplayer especially is what pushes the game into Must Have territory for us.
Neuroshima Hex is one of those ports that isn’t from another console, but from a real, acclaimed board game. It is based in a post-apocalyptic world filled with an original cast of factions. You can choose to play as or fight against machines, mutants, humans, or gangers, each with their own spin on the range of units available.
The game takes place on a board with hexagonal pieces, and most of your time is spent strategically placing units on the board. Since post-apocalyptia isn’t the best place for diplomacy, all of your work leads up to combat, which is a complex endeavor. The game has a tutorial video, but one of the first things we noticed was the necessity of reading the entire manual to discover exactly how the game pieces interact with one another.
Every piece has creative artwork from the board game, as well as several symbols dictating the features of the piece. There is no in-game information besides this, however, so you must first read about the army you choose before you can battle efficiently. After you have learned the details, you can dive into the complex strategy that the game requires.
Battle is either triggered by a special token or the game board being filled, and it is carried out in initiative phases. The placement of your units and supporting “module” tiles is essential, because any misstep can put your units in danger before they have even acted. Each player has an HQ token, and the goal is to either destroy all other HQs or, more realistically, to take the least amount of damage to your own. When everyone runs out of tiles, the player with the least HQ damage wins.
Four people can play on one device, but pass-and-play is the only option available, so most people will be battling the AI. There are three difficulty levels for the AI, but even the first level can be frustratingly difficult for beginners, which is discouraging to the non-strategy-buffs among us. Overall, we enjoy the theme and character of the game, and we think that those who have time to put into learning and mastering the game will enjoy the challenge.