Indie games and music have a long and storied history, with indie games sporting (in my opinion) some of the best soundtracks in gaming (or even any media). Rhythm games take things a step further by mixing the music into the game itself. Thus we have OCTAHEDRON, a game which features thumping electro and tricky vertical platforming In all, fifty levels stretched in height that are generally attacked by one end and that it will be necessary to cross from one end to the other by means of a curious aptitude.
OCTAHEDRON starts off simply. Pretty basic premise; casual dude gets pulled into a strange vortex that tosses him into some kinda neon world. Disco ain’t so dead in the strange world, and our 2D protagonist has to make sure he isn’t either. Platforming in this title is all about verticality; you start off with the ability to jump and the ability to make a platform appear underneath you. While holding the X button (or square for you DualShock kiddies) platform will remain in place for a limited amount of time and can move side to side. Then you can jump and generate another platform. However, in the first level, you can only generate two platforms (the number increases later) so you need to hit the existing surfaces to ‘recharge’ your ability. It’s a very pure platformer at heart where jumping is definitely the main attraction and you need to work out how to climb the platforms you generate.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Your platforms are essential for getting around the level. You need to use them to block some enemies that attack you from below when you jump, you need them to get through certain portals, etc. The musical angle comes in when trying to determine the timing is of some of the obstacles, but it’s not really a ‘rhythm’ platformer in the sense that says 140 is a rhythm platformer. But it is a fiendishly clever platformer in its own right.
Later, your floaty platforms do everything from beaming down lasers that activate switches to blowing up enemies. Timing is key though, and you quickly master jumping and bringing up your platform in mid-air. You will need to learn to perfectly synchronize the fall and opening of your own small floor to prevent huge presses from mashing you. OCTAHEDRON keeps tossing in ideas, and as I mentioned previously, the intuitive game design means you’ll figure out what’s going on without any need for a tutorial (some trial and error might be developed along the way and on this side, the developers really want to try out as many ideas as they can pack into the game.
Levels don’t vary all that much in terms of overall structure, as each level takes the form of a column with stages, where your objective is to go higher but you move through tunnels and passages going up and down and collecting…I didn’t find what they call the shiny things I kept collecting. It’s compact level design in a sense, exploiting spaces that might seem quite cramped but that require you to go back and forth. Foreground, passages from behind the scene, secret areas and twisted paths based on pneumatic tubes: OCTAHEDRON will stop at nothing to mix up the climbs while keeping you on your toes. But if you’re looking for creative level design, it ain’t here
In terms of the difficulty curve, this one’s straight out of the indie game playbook. Expect blisters on your thumbs by the time you hit the middle of OCTAHEDRON. But it’s a rewarding experience, and it offers pure platformer fans a great challenge if they’re willing to get their reflexes up.
OCTAHEDRON was reviewed using an Xbox One digital download code of the game provided by the Square Enix Collective. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via digital release stores. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).
• Precise platforming
• Energetic electro soundtrack.
• lots of mechanics
• Level design is somewhat simplistic
• Difficulty spikes later on