Game Over. Two words that every gamer fears, and two words which you will be hearing a lot when you play Super Hexagon.
Super Hexagon is an indie game from Terry Cavanagh, creator of VVVVVV, where you control a small triangle which you can rotate around a hexagon fixed at the centre of the screen. The goal of SH is simple: you must navigate your triangle around the hexagon so that you avoid the walls that are moving towards you. Survive for sixty seconds and you unlock a new difficulty to play on. Easy enough right? Nope.
Super Hexagon is a hard game. The first few times you play you probably won’t last longer than a few seconds. The walls come at you quickly and are constantly spinning and changing shape, complete concentration is needed at all times. Be prepared to hear those dreaded two words over and over again. Nevertheless, as you play you will notice yourself lasting significantly longer pretty quickly. Your progress is clear to see, and the game does a great job of making you notice your own improvement.
There are six stages to each difficulty: Point, Line, Triangle, Square, Pentagon and Hexagon. Survive for long enough and you will reach the next stage, last for sixty seconds and you reach ‘Hexagon’, unlocking a new difficulty in the process. This is really helpful in watching yourself improve. You will be constantly striving to hit the next stage and you get a great sense of satisfaction when you do.
You die a lot. But like all the great games of this type (Bit Trip Runner, Geometry Wars, Super Meat Boy etc.) when you do fail, you can immediately get back into the action. It’s addictive stuff and it’s hard not to keep clicking retry. Most games will last less than thirty seconds, but you’ll find yourself looking up at the clock to see that you’ve been playing for the last half hour without realising.
There are three difficulties to challenge: Hexagon, Hexagoner and Hexagonest. These three can be played from the get go (though you’ll want to start with the first one, trust me) and are appropriately labelled Hard, Harder and Hardest respectively. If you manage to survive sixty seconds, reaching Hexagon stage, you then unlock Hyper mode for that difficulty. These next difficulties are labelled Hardest, Hardestest and Hardestestest. To give you an idea of the speed and difficulty of the final level, here’s a video of someone playing it:
Super Hexagon‘s music is by someone called Chipzel. I don’t know who this is, but they’ve done a superb job. It’s absolutely fantastic and really adds to the experience. The game really has to be played with the sound up, preferably with headphones on. Rather than try to explain it, here’s one of my favourite tracks from the game:
While being very different games, Super Hexagon shares many similarities with the game I reviewed last week: FTL: Faster Than Light. Both have great soundtracks. Both are very addictive. And both can frustrate you a huge amount. However, the latter is also where they differ. While FTL can often leave you feeling somewhat cheated after watching your spaceship blow to pieces once again, Super Hexagon never does. You can always see where you went wrong, and that it was your fault not the games. It is a superb game, and a great achievement from Cavanagh. If you’re looking for something to play on the bus or when you just have five minutes to spare, Super Hexagon may just fit the bill perfectly.