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Super Hexagon

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Better shape up

Product: Super Hexagon | Developer: Distractionware | Publisher: Distractionware | Format: iPad | Genre: Action, Hardcore, Party/ mini- games, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Super Hexagon iPad, thumbnail 1
Repetitiveness. Frustration. Disorientation. Sore eyes.

These are not the sorts of things you usually associate with a fun video game. A day at work, maybe. Watching Hollyoaks, most certainly. But not a fun video game.

They all occur during your typical game of Super Hexagon, but somehow it manages to be really rather fun all the same.

Put a hex on you

Super Hexagon is from Terry Cavanagh, the creator of fiendish retro platformer VVVVVV, so we were prepared for a tough ride (as well as artfully minimalistic graphics) as we waited for Super Hexagon to download.

But nothing can quite prepare you for just how toe-crushingly tough Super Hexagon actually is.

After a couple of dozen tries I was finally able to hit level two. If that doesn't sound pathetic enough, getting to level two involves surviving for 20 seconds.

I won't survive

Indeed, survival is what Super Hexagon is about in its entirety. You control a little craft that's stuck in orbit around a hexagonal sun, and the only buttons you have to worry about are virtual clockwise and anti-clockwise inputs.

As soon as the level starts you'll be bombarded by intricate patterns of barriers all being sucked towards the hexagon. Needless to say you don't want to get caught in-between.

Weaving between these solid barriers is complicated by a couple of things - the sheer speed at which everything happens, the level's disconcerting habit of lurching and spinning this way and that, and some slightly twitchy controls.

Bloody minded

The first two are fair enough in a game of this sort. As with WipEout, You need to be really wired into the game to get anywhere - this is no idle time waster, in spite of its simplicity.

This ethos is underlined by the stripped back retro visuals and pounding techno soundtrack, which ties in closely with the swirling, pulsing levels. Get in sync with these beats and you'll definitely improve your chances.

Unfortunately, those skittish controls can't be ignored in such a straightforward game. You'll die far too many times through rotating too far or not far enough - and there's the continual suspicion that the lack of precise digital feedback is as much to blame as your own cack-handedness.

Super Hexagon undoubtedly engenders that bloody-minded 'just one more go' mentality, though, and you over time you get better at manipulating those delicate controls. After all, cursing and blaming everything apart from your own limited skill is all part of the appeal.

Super Hexagon
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 11 September 2012
Tough, frustrating, and a little too twitchy, Super Hexagon is nonetheless a skilfully constructed and compelling game / instrument of torture
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Aug 2012
Post count:
Will Wilson | 23:10 - 11 September 2012
To balance it out - I think the controls are too twitchy and agree with the review. Good game, though...just too many times I died knowing the game didn't do what I wanted it to do - nowt about timing as it was always due to overshooting.

I get the feeling this would be a lot better with physical buttons, sadly.
Sep 2012
Post count:
@ArmageddonArk | 17:18 - 11 September 2012
Thirded. You just suck at the game, Jon.
Sep 2012
Post count:
Ond?ej Pošta | 14:11 - 11 September 2012
I agree completely with J249. Controls are ok. I am no expert either (Hard-70s,Harder-35s), however controls suits me well. It!s all about timing.
Jul 2012
Post count:
J249 | 13:00 - 11 September 2012
I don't agree with the review of controls. They are twitchy, but they need to be - I never feel like I've undercooked or overcooked a move because of poor controls; it's down to me. The controls are consistent and part of learning to master the game.

Getting good at Super Hexagon is about timing... It's about knowing how long to tap the screen for, down to the split second. It's about learning the patterns, and feeling the music at a level that brings everything together perfectly.

At the moment I've managed 57.something on Hard, 22.something on Harder and about 7 seconds on the Hardest level. So I'm by no means an expert, but I wouldn't change the controls at all.

it was probably worth mentioning in the review the three difficulty levels in the game, and that surviving each for 60seconds (I think) unlocks the endless version of that difficulty.