Have You Played… SquareCells?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Hexcells is, I think I can safely say, my favourite puzzle game ever. All three games in the series were utterly wonderful, and I’ve replayed them so, so often. But SquareCells [official site], Matthew Brown’s follow-up puzzle game, didn’t grab me in quite the same way. Until now, I think. It just took me a while to catch up.

SquareCells is a fascinating combination of a number of established puzzle types, including Picross, Campixu and Pic-Pic’s Drawing. And indeed a healthy does of HexCells logic. Each of a grid of squares must be highlighted or deleted according to an ever-growing collection of rules. I think it was the confusion of rule types that put me off at first, but having gone back to it a few times since release, completed it perhaps three times, it’s really clicked with me. It doesn’t quite have the finesse and sense of perfection of HexCells, but it remains a completely superb puzzle game well worth your time.


  1. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Why yes, I have, thanks to you. I had a vaguely similar thing where it didn’t feel as good as Hexcells at first, in part due to logic conflation and the slightly different meanings of the mouse clicks (swapped or not) , but then it got better when I went back to it later. However, in my case, I got totally stumped for a couple days on the same puzzle, then I came back a few months later, played through the first world to recall the rules, and got through the stumper on the first try (albeit after an hour or so of chin scratching). And I’m enjoying it more than earlier overall, now.

  2. Otterley says:

    A new Matthew Brown puzzle-game? What have I done to deserve this? I’m so excited :)

    • sschoener says:

      It is not all that new; it has been out for quite some time now. But still — you are rightfully excited; it is a good game :)

  3. KDR_11k says:

    I dunno, it kinda lacks the satisfaction of looking at the finished image in Picross. Everything is just noise. Also it’s fairly annoying that it doesn’t consider a puzzle solved when you’ve removed all the blocks that should be removed, you have to mark the rest as part of the puzzle even though you’re at 0 left to remove.

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      particlese says:

      The opposite actually bugs me slightly in knetwalk: “You’ve made all the connections? Okay! No need to mark the tiles you’re 100% sure about; I know what you mean.” There’s no need, sure, but it doesn’t feel complete until I’ve marked them, dangnabbit!

      That said, I could second your Squarecells annoyance on the grounds that the game is inconsistent since it does “check off” the numbers on the sides as soon as their direct implications have been satisfied. Hexcells, meanwhile, is happy to let me do everything manually.

  4. AmazingPotato says:

    I have! Also thanks to RPS’s recommendation :) I mainlined all the ‘cell’ games one after the other and adored them. Adored them! They’re one of those few games where I’ve thought “Cor, I wish I’d come up with this”.