Created by Alexey Pajitnov, the man who brought Tetris to the world, Hexic is a single player puzzle game that involves a board filled with colored hexagonal blocks. The major overarching game play constant is that players need to form clusters of three or more hexagons of the same color in an effort to clear the board. The hexagons remain stationary, instead rotated left or right to make the requisite clusters needed to clear them from the board. Players can also clear hexagons from the board by making starflowers. A starflower consists of six of the same colored hexagons being arranged into a hexagon shape around a different colored block. The starflower is integral to the Marathon Mode, where starflowers are needed to create black pearls, as well as Timed Mode, where forming a star resets the time meter. A starflower allows the player to rotate all surrounding pieces of the star either clockwise or counterclockwise.
There are three gaming types:
- Marathon Mode: The goal of the game is to make a cluster of black pearls. Black pearls are created by having six starflowers arranged in a hexagon shape around a colored block. There are seven levels of Marathon mode, and each level increases the number of different colors of hexagons that fall. Bombs are also dropped, and must be removed from the board by clustering a bomb with like-colored hexagons within a certain number of turns. As the levels increase, the move span in which the player has to destroy the bomb narrows.
- Timed Mode: Similar to Marathon Mode, except there is a timer that the player goes against. Creating starflowers resets the time the player has, and time is also increased by small increments by successful cluster formations.
- Survival Mode: Unlike Timed Mode or Marathon Mode, Survival Mode challenges the player to clear the entire board of hexagons. When the player forms clusters, the game does not automatically add more blocks to the board. There are fifty levels to Survival Mode, and levels end when a player cannot make anymore moves to form clusters. The pieces left on the board lock into place, and cannot be moved. The player wins the game if they can clear the entire board, or if they survive the entire fifty levels without all pieces on the board locking into place.
This game was originally released as an MSN Game. Hexic HD was a pack-in game for Xbox 360, and is installed automatically onto the 360's hard drive. The color scheme of the original Hexic is decidedly different than that of its Xbox 360 counterpart; the original features a lighter, more pastel palette where as Hexic HD features an extremely subdued and industrial appearance. To go along with the sounds of the game, Hexic HD uses an ambient techno/industrial soundtrack to break up the monotony of forming clusters.