Super Hexagon review
From the mind of Terry Cavanagh, the author of the insanely frustrating and addictive VVVVVV, comes another game – Super Hexagon. Although different in mechanics, these two titles have a very similar philosophy, which is to abuse their audiences until they develop a Stockholm syndrome.
If you think I’m over-exaggerating, you obviously haven’t played Super Hexagon yet, or any other Cavanagh’s game for that matter. But, I digress. The goal of Super Hexagon is to rotate a small triangle around the hexagon in the centre of the screen in a way that will avoid collision with the various wall shapes that are constantly moving towards the middle at greater and greater pace. That’s pretty much it. The catch is, however, that this game is devilishly hard and unforgiving, and for the first 20 minutes, players usually don’t manage to survive longer than 10 seconds. Of course, like it usually goes with drugs Cavanagh’s games, Super Hexagon is hard to let go of. I can’t seem to remember the last time I had such ambivalent feelings towards a video game, but I surely won’t forget Super Hexagon and its “hardestestestest” difficulty level anytime soon. And yes, those were quotation marks.
The game’s graphical presentation is psychedelic, to say the least. Flashes upon flashes of bright colours and constantly moving distorting shapes will make your eyes bleed after a while, even though that won’t stop you from playing. The thing is, graphics are one of the biggest reasons why Super Hexagon is so hard. Think about it: it would be much easier to focus on avoiding obstacles if the game was made only in black and white. However, even though the graphics are “justifiable”, so to say, and even though the game is rated “4+” and “Everyone” on the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively, don’t let your kid play this title for more than 20 minutes at once, because if anything can cause epilepsy, Super Hexagon can. The game’s soundtrack is made by Chipzel and despite the fact that it consist out of only 3 techno chiptunes that last less than 9 minutes combined, it’s surprisingly unannoying. The reason for that probably lies in the fact that every time you die, the music starts at a different place, which is a neat trick that more similar games should utilize.
Super Hexagon seriously tests the players reflexes, and luckily, the simple touch controls work pretty good. They’re a little over-sensitive, but after a few hours, you’ll know exactly how long do you need to press which side of the screen to end up where you want to. If you manage to see the obstacles in time, that is. Another nice feature is the online leaderboard that I wouldn’t suggest looking at during the first week of playing Super Hexagon, because it’ll just make you madder.
It’s amazing how a game so simple, so devoid of content, can not only be incredibly addicting, but also extremely exciting to play. The sensation of drifting on the edges of distorted walls and listening to 8-bit techno while looking into something that I imagine Eminem saw when he wrote My Fault is something almost everyone should experience at least once. Super Hexagon is a merciless game that doesn’t accept any compromises, but I’m still willing to bet that you’ll love it. Or, at least, you’ll love it more than you hate it.
Graphics: 6 - psychedelic and vivid visuals will wore your eyes out pretty quickly
Sound: 6.5 – surprisingly unannoying techno chiptunes
Gameplay: 9.5 - despite (or because of) the frustrating difficulty level, this is pure addiction
Duration: 8.2 - you’ll be playing it for weeks
Score: 9 – Super Hexagon is a game that everyone besides epileptics should try
Developer: Terry Cavanagh
Platform: iOS, Android, PC, BlackBerry 10
Release date: August 31, 2012 (iOS), November 27, 2012 (Steam), January 19, 2013 (Android), February 9, 2013 (BlackBerry 10)
The game score is not an average of other rated elements (since not all of them are equally important), just the reviewer’s overall opinion of the game.