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CrossCells! A new game from the brain behind Hexcells!


Today is a day of great rejoicing in the village (and by “village” I mean “amongst John and me and any other right-minded puzzle-loving individual”) because Matthew Brown of Hexcells fame has another game on the way. This one is called CrossCells [Steam page] and offers up a new variant of Brown’s trademark minimalist logic.

I’m actually playing it at the moment so we can get a review in place for when the game goes up for sale on 26 May but the basic gist is that you wrestle with the snippets of info he gives you about what the row or column’s remaining tiles should add up to or how many need to be filled in so that you can complete each board.

I say that you wrestle but it’s more about a mental tussle where you’re applying the logic of the numbers in various ways as you find footholds in the game.

If you’ve played Hexcells or SquareCells you’ll have a good idea of how CrossCells progresses but if not I think I’d describe this particular iteration as sharing DNA with Sudoku. In particular I’m thinking of the type of Sudoku where within the 3×3 grids you also have smaller shapes where numbers can’t repeat within their borders. It’s that kind of layered logic.

If it helps give you an idea of the scope of the game I’m most of the way through the 50 levels after a few hours (with Riverdale on in the background). There are some oddities with the interface which I’ll ponder, and I want to compare how John and I get on so I get a better idea of how people who aren’t me get on with it. But good lord I was giddy when it showed up in my inbox this morning and clearly it has pushed everything else I was supposed to be doing right off my desk!

You can tell Adam that I am not sorry.

CrossCells is out on 26 May for Windows, Mac and Linux and should cost £2/€3/$3.

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Philippa Warr


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