Flash games are a bit of a mixed blessing aren't they? On one hand you get people going back to the older style of gaming, where there had to actually be a game involved but, on the other hand, the games are usually rushed, often bad conversions of good games.
What we have here is a Flash game. It's been converted over to the Atari, and it's got some nice little bells and whistles on. Oh, and it's called Hexxagon XE. It starts out with a sort of intro at the start which doesn't really do very much or look impressive and seems to be there for the hell of it, but once you've pressed the "any" key you're into the main menu. And what a good little menu it is too, it's just one screen with a really lovely catchy little theme tune playing in the background. Graphically it's very well presented, there's a nice display of what the options are for the next game and a pretty Hexxagon XE logo. It's clean and clear and it gives a real air of professionalism. After choosing the layout of the board and an opponent (the computer interestingly has three levels of difficulty), a gentle tap on the start button sends you on your merry way.
And that's where it all sort of falls down a bit, because you see, it's based on a pretty dull sort of flash game. Hexxagon is one of those property-taking-over type games, like Othello (or Reversi as its sometimes known), but less fun. Each player moves on the grid made up of hexagons (hence the name) by either getting a new piece next to any other piece or making on of their pieces jump over a single hexagon. Any opponents pieces next to the piece you just move become yours, and then your opponent takes their turn. The player with the most pieces at the end wins. The problem is that because territory battles come down to jumping pieces over and over again, the games can take a long time and never actually get anywhere, and far more so than Othello, once you start losing, that's pretty much it.
It's also quite noticeable that while the start screen was all lovely and nice with good music, the game itself seems a bit empty with no animation when pieces are taken and fairly clunky sound effects. It really needs something, a bit of music, some sort of explosive animation when you take a piece, or even a text scroller down the bottom, just something to give it a bit of life.
In the end it's a nicely presented package which makes the best from a fairly weak game, but the real problem with Hexxagon XE is that it fails to give a good reason why you should bother starting up an emulator (or the real thing), waiting for the game to load and then playing, when you can play exactly the same game with better graphics and a faster way of selecting your moves in Flash.