Octagon – What Goes Around Comes Around

3.0 Overall Score
Gameplay: 3/5
Design: 3.5/5
Duration: 2.5/5

Great design work | Extreme challenge from the outset | Intuitive controls

Controls can cause mix-ups | Intrinsic repetition to complete levels | Not the greatest variety




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There has been a small niche of iOS games focusing on minimalistic challenging arcade games. Think of The Impossible Game, Impossible Road, Duet, Super Hexagon, and Boson X. Octagon is similar to the later two providing a tube to run through, and you need to circle around it at high speeds while contending with numerous gaps, and specific platform patterns. You get to control a small Octagon, and you’re traveling through an Octagon shaped tunnel with eight sides to traverse on your way to the finish. There are an unlimited number of randomly generated levels that continue to increase the complexity. In fact, by level three you will already reach the extreme difficulty, and the game never lets up.
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There is definitely a specific audience for such challenging games, and some players like the idea of constantly banging their head against the wall. Octagon has all of the elements of those challenging games that require split second reactions, and identical level set-up each time out so that it becomes a matter of repetition, and memorization to make it through. The best part of the game is the first run through a level, because as soon as you die you need to go through the same stretches just to reach the point that you died. Any of these types of games depend on the controls, and Octagon does a good job of making intuitive controls, which Boson X was lacking. You simply swipe left or right to move in that direction, and then swipe up to jump, which are all you need to handle anything that you will come across. Controls need to be intuitive because you don’t have time to think, and instead just need to react.

The one problem with the controls is that there are times that it doesn’t recognize your actions properly when you intend to swipe right, and the game recognizes it as a jump. It can be devastating when a challenging run is almost completed only to swear you swiped right, but your Octagon doesn’t. It doesn’t happen often, but enough to notice, which can be a deal breaker to some. There is a high quality visual and audio design that play off each other nicely. The colors change as you go, and there are specific audio notes as you move through the tube. There’s a minimalistic quality as well, and it makes for a nice wrapper on a familiar gameplay mechanic. It’s worth noting that there is some redundancy if you have played Super Hexagon or Boson X, and there’s the obvious repetition in playing the same level numerous times to advance.

Octagon ($1.99, Universal) is worth considering if you like extremely challenging games, though there are a couple problems, and a lack of variability that detracts from the experience.



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