The music thumps rapidly; the pace picks up. The rainbow of colors is swirling; purple, yellow, green, blue. You’ve been playing for about 45 seconds but it feels like 5 minutes. You’re approaching your previous high score -GAME OVER. The wall smashes into you for the 50th time …but you don’t care. You’re already back in for another round. Welcome to Super Hexagon.
You play as a tiny arrow that flies around the outside of a hexagon, avoiding incoming obstacles to survive. The screen is rotating the whole time and can even feel disorienting after a while. The screen spins and changes colors while you’re expected to stay focused and dodge everything flying at you. Super Hexagon becomes a dance as you weave in a out of the vortex and the beats pump through your headphones.
At first the controls can feel a little unstable, but as you recognize how far each tap will take you it starts to become second nature. Recognizing the 6 unique areas surrounding the hexagon helps you know exactly where you need to be at any point. You’ll still lose control every once in a while, as is the hectic nature of the game, but staying calm is part of the challenge.
There are multiple ways the level can occur, sometimes you’ll fly through simple lines, other times half of the screen will begin to close in on you and more. The game is about learning the mechanics and becoming better at knowing how to adapt to each situation, rather than memorizing the level design and mindlessly plowing through it.
Harder difficulties make the colors change extremely rapidly, along with completely different music tracks that can change the feel of the entire game. There are multiple difficulty levels, and unlockables for actually completing an entire difficulty level from start to finish.
It wouldn’t be a Terry Cavanagh game if it weren’t for the fantastic soundtrack, and this game has it in spades. The artist, Chipzel, creates a wonderfully fast paced track that fits perfect with the rhythm at which you speed through the mazes. The soundtrack adds even more urgency to the frantic gameplay, and the songs are just incredible to boot.
Cavanagh has proven to be a very unique designer, Super Hexagon and VVVVVV have strong uses of shapes, colors, and sounds to bring one whole great package together.
Right now as a special launch promotion, Super Hexagon is on sale for $1 as a universal iPad and iPhone app.