TetraVex

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A 3x3 TetraVex puzzle.

TetraVex is a tile-based puzzle video game developed by Scott Ferguson in published by Microsoft in their Microsoft Entertainment Pack 3 for Windows 3 in 1991, and later re-released in their The Best of Microsoft Entertainment Pack bundle. The game is composed of square tiles with a number on each side. The goal of the game is to place all the tiles on a grid, so that the number on the sides of each tile matches the number of its neighbor. However, since the numbers are randomly generated with each game, this is especially vexing (hence the name). The larger the grid, the more tiles are used, and the harder the game becomes. The game was originally called QUADominoes, since it uses a game mechanic similar to dominoes, but was changed by Microsoft before the game shipped.

Personal

My cousin had TetraVex on his computer in the early 1990s, though he didn't have any of the other games from the Packs, so I'm not sure where it came from. I remember playing it and being able to beat the 2x2 and 3x3 games, but was quickly overwhelmed by even the 4x4, and stopped playing the game. Other friends of mine had the game as well, but I rarely played it. Later, after wanting to increase my count of finished Windows 3 games, I tried replaying it and seeing if I could do a better job with several more years of experience in puzzle games. After several attempts, I finally beat every layout from 2x2 all the way up to 6x6 with 10 digits on 2020-08-04.

Status

I do not own this game, but I have beaten a 6x6 with 10 digits.

Review

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4 5 1 1 4

Best Version: Windows 3

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • Although Ferguson didn't invent the idea of fitting numbered tiles into a gird, to my knowledge this is the first time it has been put together in this manner.
  • The interface has a couple nice additions for making it easier to move tiles around like being able to right-click and drag groups, and the ability to bolt pieces into place when you're confident they're in the correct spot.
  • The game has a couple of customization features like the ability to change the gird size for larger games, the ability to decrease the numbers for easier games, and the ability to change the glyphs (although, the Greek symbols are very hard to read).

Bad

  • It would have been nice if the game had more options for the sides. Perhaps colors, symbols, or the ability to change the font. Having to look for numbers when they're all gray strains the eyes.
  • I wish there were automated ways to sort tiles. For example, when you're looking for all tiles which have a 6 on the bottom, it would be nice if you could just request it and have them all pulled out and arranged for you.
  • The timer stops counting after 535+ minutes. I know this because I've taken longer than that to solve a 6x6 puzzle!

Ugly

  • The game is lacking in media. There aren't any sounds, music, or animation, and the ending graphic is not very impressive for how difficult the game is.

Media

Screenshots

Videos

Review.

Links

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