Cavanagh did it again. In a moment of almost total absence of ideas, the Cambridge indie designer returns to the stage to forcefully claim the limelight. Terry Cavanagh puts triple A franchise on one side, Hollywood-style intermission scenes on the other and just before Christmas gives the market the maximum expression of his concept of ludus: simple, pure and quality gameplay. Born as a flash game and evolved into Super Hexagon, Cavanagh's latest creature is the most minimalist of his works, with a basic but tremendously stimulating audio-video design and a hardcore soul that will test even the most experienced of his fans. The new creature from the respected indie designer didn't take long to arrive on Steam, following the success of iOS, adding to the package five difficulty levels, some online leaderboards and a couple of audio tracks created by the skilled artist Chipzel.
To describe Super Hexagon it is very simple, its philosophy makes it such an immediate product that it almost seems like a pastime rather than a title with its own playful dignity. As a sort of running game, the two-dimensional game board will throw concentric geometric obstacles against the small arrow protagonist to avoid by moving clockwise or counterclockwise, translated on the keyboard in the alternation of left-right.
The plate is enriched by the continuous simultaneous and totally random rotation of the dashboard, which will slow down or accelerate the movement of the arrow according to the synergy of the direction of rotation. The concept that permeates the title reflects Cavanagh's philosophy, which aims to offer products that are easy to use, immediate but which, if completed, repay all the mental energy spent. It is a basic idea that unites many indie titles which, as if to rediscover the joys and pains of the video game of the past, have become somewhat the ideal representatives of the arcade of the past.
Easy to describe, impossible to finish. Or almost, of course, as the well-known difficulty underlying Cavanagh's products reaches into Super Hexagon a new peak and permeates each session with the right amount of randomness and frustration as well. The positive one though. The skill of the English designer has produced such basic and direct gameplay that the error will never depend on defects in the development or construction of the game infrastructure, but only and solely on the player's hand-eye coordination, which will be heavily put under. stress from the first of the 6 difficulty levels available.
With very fast game sessions (especially those of a few seconds, they will be the most frequent) there will be no time to get used to a pattern of generation of the approaching barriers. To make everything more complex there are some obstacles that can be overcome only if the direction of rotation of the arrow is identical to that of the dashboard, benefiting from the greater speed necessary in many situations. Hearing the usual "Game Over" will become routine in the attempts to progress, all characterized by a completion bar which, coherently with the title of the game, makes the names of geometric shapes the dividers between the style of the various areas that make up the level. A nice idea, which together with the psychedelic style and a minimal techno style soundtrack creates a perfect visual and acoustic framework in its accompaniment.
Super Hexagon it is a dry, quick and decidedly difficult title. With basic gameplay based on quick reflexes and cold blood, Cavanagh's title returns to the origins of gaming, removing all the superfluous and committing attention to what is necessary. Few elements but enough to keep glued to the screen for hours until the completion of the five present objectives. A demanding challenge for eyes and hand for only € 3: what more could you ask for?
- Fast, immediate, frenetic
- Low price
- Old arcade feeling
- Very difficult...
- ... but really very, very difficult
- Being told over and over "Game Over" can be unnerving