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All I See Are Hexagons, All I Hear Are Chiptunes

by Max Brooks 3 years ago in product review
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Max plays 'Super Hexagon.'

Soon as you push play, that music's getting stuck in your head...

Oh God, this game is so hard.Part of me hates it.But I also can't stop playing it.I've made it my mission to play all the games that I've neglected over the years, and I knew that I owed Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon the courtesy of playing more than a few seconds at a friend's house. I figured that at least finishing the first level would do the game justice.I had no idea what I was in for.Super Hexagon, likeLittle Inferno, is a game from the first Humble Bundle I bought. This bundle also included Hotline Miami, a game I've wanted to play since I saw Michael Jones of Rooster Teeth make a RageQuit video about it. He also did one for Super Hexagon and honestly that should have prepared me for this.Super Hexagon, as I've said, is a game by Terry Cavanagh released for Windows in 2012. When I opened my browser to start writing I was unsure what genre to call it. I was ready to say "puzzle" until a quick browse down its Wikipedia page for the basics on its release and platform history mentioned it was a "Twitch" game: A game that tests your reaction speed.Now from playing this I've come to the realisation that my reaction speed is pretty great.My actual reactions, however, are garbage.The game has a deceptively simple concept. You are a triangle, dodge the walls coming towards you. Get hit by the wall and you have to start the level over. You get a new rank every ten seconds (line, triangle, square, and so on and so forth) and I assume every level lasts 60 seconds so that the final rank is "Hexagon." I say "assume" because I haven't gotten further than eighteen seconds in before I see a wall and instantly react by positioning myself straight in front of it.Like I said: I have good reaction times—my reactions themselves are bad.It's addictive, though.The music, provided by Northern Irish musician "Chipzel," is a perfect match for the hectic and intense gameplay. The outward simplicity of the game makes it easy to recognise where you went wrong ("I overshot there," "I didn't move enough there," "I should have moved left because there was more space," etc.) and helps you figure out what to do next time as best you can.Typically what happens for me is I'll play a few rounds and get a score of about six or seven seconds then one glorious run where I push past my high score by point-seven of a second and feel very happy. Until I slam myself straight into a wall. Then I'll mutter "dammit" under my breath, take a minute, and restart.It's frustrating, but seeing that I'm making progress, however minute, is a nice feeling, and as I mentioned none of my deaths or failures feel like they came out of nowhere. It's one of those games where you need to zone out for a second and just go with the flow. I've had times where I see something coming and immediately push the button towards it rather than away, and other times where I'll spam button commands when all I really need to do is just hold down one key as it's just a big spiral. I've caught myself giggling and saying "How did I do that!?" aloud as I get through some of the quicker and more intense segments.And remember all of this is in the first level.Super Hexagon is great. I am definitely a casual gamer and I'm not determined to get every achievement in the game. It's a challenge I don't think I'm up for. But it's definitely fun, engaging, and I'm not good at it, but I'm still determined to do that first level if nothing else. And who knows? Maybe if I can do level one I'll feel that I'm skilled enough to try the other difficulties, and I can start all the panic over again.As a last note, Super Hexagon is considered a "Full" version of a game Cavanagh whipped up for a 12 hour game jam. And I'd recommend giving Hexagon a go before you try Super Hexagon, just to see if it's your thing.---Super Hexagon is a game by Terry Cavanagh. It's available from, or on Steam. It's also available on Android and iOS. Terry Cavanagh also has his own website.

product review

About the author

Max Brooks

My name is Max, part-time EFL teacher, full time nerd. I like writing about books, games, and the educational aspects of both.

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