boss▲battle Review - Super Hexagon (iOS)
Terry Cavanagh hates you. Well, maybe not personally, but he really doesn’t want you to be happy. Or to succeed in life. Or achieve your goals. But at least wants you to have fun in your misery.
That’s the only explanation I can give for Super Hexagon, Cavanagh’s latest, brutal iOS game. Your goal is to rotate a triangle-shaped object around the titular hexagon as walls rapidly fly inward in increasingly twisting patterns.
The follow-up to his equally rough VVVVVV, there is no such thing as an “easy” setting here. Cavanagh takes a page from the Starbucks sizing school of thought and kicks things off at “hard” before moving to “harder,” “hardest” and beyond. There are three more difficulty levels after that, but I’ve yet to unlock them. My first shot at Super Hexagon lasted about 3 seconds, and in the week since I’ve made it to a whopping 40 seconds.
As a female narrator tonelessly informs you of your inevitable “game over,” a quick tap puts you back into action for a glorious few seconds. It’s engrossing as hell and demands your absolute attention; I had more than a few rounds on my morning commute ended by errant glances to make sure I hadn’t missed my stop. Even worse is accidentally changing the volume on the phone, which brings up the giant “volume” icon in the middle of the screen, obscuring the view. That’s a design flaw on Apple’s part more than anyone else’s, though.
Watch the trailer for Super Hexagon, and try to remember to blink:
Still, you’ll want to crank that volume, as Chipzel’s frantic, glitchy chiptune soundtrack is a perfect match for the game’s hard edges and harder difficulty. She’s put the 3-song EP up for download over at her Bandcamp page.
As much ink as has been spilled on how mobile gaming is revolutionizing the games industry, there’ve only been a handful of games that really earn such a lofty title, and even fewer made by one or two people. Super Hexagon has quickly found a home in the same category as Zach Gage’s Bit Pilot or Steph Thirion’s Eliss as retro-minded titles with modern touches that I’ll heartily recommend as “must-haves” on the your iDevice of choice.
You can give the original Flash version of the game a shot over at Cavanagh’s site for free, or you can pick Super Hexagon up on iTunes now to find out how awful you are at it. You’ll be glad you did.