Review: Honeycomb Beat

Honeycomb Beat Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Hudson Soft
Release Date: 3/27/07
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1

As if there weren’t enough already, yet another puzzle game has come to the Nintendo DS, this time in the form of Honeycomb Beat from Konami and Hudson. Billed as a fusion of Lumines and Othello, Honeycomb Beat really is just that, unifying strategic grid-based (or honeycomb-based in this case) puzzle boards and a jazzy sense of style and customization. While that sounds like a promising concept, the game doesn’t do enough with it to generate the addictive qualities a good puzzler needs to have, and what we’re left with in the end is a decent but ultimately short-lived and unexciting title.

The mission in Honeycomb Beat is to solve over 200 different puzzle boards, each composed of hexagonal honeycomb tiles that come in one of two colors, by tapping (or beating as the game calls it) on the titles with the stylus. When a honeycomb is “beat”, it and any adjacent titles flip over and change to the opposite color, and in order to complete the puzzle you must change every tile on the board white within a certain number of beats.

This actually starts out pretty easy, but as the game progresses the puzzle board layouts become more and more tricky, and special honeycomb titles and Vector Labels are gradually introduced to try and spice things up. There are horizontal and diagonal vectors that flip all panels horizontally or diagonally in their path, non-vectors that only flip over the touched panel, and count panels that require multiple beats to turn into a regular colored tile. Sometimes these Vector Labels are already placed to begin a puzzle, but most of the time they are provided in a Vector Stock on the left side of the screen and it’s up to you to drag them into the play area and figure out where to place them to clear the puzzle, which forces you to strategize effectively or fail.

Honeycomb Beat’s numerous puzzles are challenging and the premise is clever, but unfortunately there still just isn’t enough material here to keep you busy for longer than a few hours at most, and once you’ve completed a puzzle it’s essentially pointless to replay it. An Evolution mode, which has you clearing lines of honeycombs as they rise up the screen (sort of in the vein of the Tetris-style puzzle games), has been added in an attempt to offer more variety and staying power, but it does neither.

For every 10 puzzles solved, new audiovisual configuration themes are unlocked, including different tile color options, background designs, top-screen visualizers and music (consisting of techo/electronica-type tracks). The game does have an appealing look and sound to it and these customization options add variety, but like with the rest of the game nothing jumps out and gets those gaming juices flowing.

Honeycomb Beat is a fairly respectable puzzle game overall. It presents some thoughtful challenge and at least tries to be something different from the many block-based Tetris clones. But at the same time, there’s nothing particularly special about it that grabs your attention and there isn’t enough longevity to hold your focus beyond a couple of hours. If you absolutely must own another puzzle game, Honeycomb Beat isn’t a terrible option by any means, I just wouldn’t suggest anything more than a rental.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!