Super Hexagon was developed and published by Terry Cavanagh. A Steam copy from the developer was provided for review purposes
Begin. Game Over. Begin. Game Over. Begin. Game Over.
You’ll get used to hearing these phrases over and over. Super Hexagon is the latest game from VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh, who’s known for making interesting games with simple and easy-to-learn mechanics. But over time, he messes with the conventions and what was simple becomes hard to master. Once you master, or even get a grip on the action, some of the most stupendous things happen that will blow your mind. Super Hexagon feels like your brain being warped into space and the ability to see the galaxy when your eyes lock in to all the shapes around.
You play as a triangle hovering around a hexagon, and the only goal of the game is to dodge lines that come from all sides of the hexagon. It’s basic in premise and simple in execution. You don’t have to worry about power-ups or extra goals. All you have to do is survive, which just on its own is the difficult and challenging part.
It’s so challenging that the first difficulty is Hard – followed by Harder and Hardest – so you’re not in for an easy ride. The lines going into the hexagon become crazier the further you get along. Every 10 seconds, things get faster or more lines and shapes come at you. While you’ll have to dodge the lines, you might have to do it in the blink of a second. One of the patterns has you pressing left and right as fast as you possibly can to escape. You know what’ll happen if you mess up, so you have to be on the ball.
If you’re the impatient type, I can see someone not enjoying this. But after being beaten to the death and hearing Game Over hundreds of times, you’ll say “one more”. That one more will turn to 10 more and boom, seconds it takes to play the game has become an hour-long session.
After beating the first three difficulties, you unlock even harder difficulties. Granted, they’re the same as the previous difficulties but hyper versions. Your usual reaction speed might be fine but you’ll have to amp it up for these harder ones.
The visuals are retro in a sense, but that’s not the intent. It’s a minimalist game, so all you’ll see is certain shapes and lines. No crazy enemies or anything. The lines are the enemies. The chiptune music especially helps, too, but don’t get too immersed. Playing it without sound might mess you up good. Just let your eyes watch the action, and focus on getting out and alive.
I personally can’t really think of any flaws. In my eyes, this is a perfect experience to revel in. It’s a pure arcade-like experience that feels fun and frenetic, but also challenging to the player. Not to reiterate “easy to learn, tough to master,” but that’s how it works.
Not to mention that you can get it for three dollars or less on Steam, and that’s crazy value. You can even buy a two-pack for a friend for only 5 dollars (be aware that it might be on sale sometimes). A game that’s only two dollars that’ll turn minutes into hours of playtime fast is something that everyone needs. That’s why Super Hexagon is just so perfect. From the amount of playtime you’ll get out of it, to the incredible value and furious-but-fair challenge. It’s something that’ll keep your brain going and see through time.
Super Hexagon wad developed by Terry Cavanagh. A PC copy was provided by the developer for the purposes of review.