I’ve nearly put a controller through my TV screen on three separate occasions this weekend and I want to blame Octahedron for it.
Except I know that Octahedron is actually a well-paced, excellently designed platforming romp that gives me ample opportunity to get familiar with my settings. It’s me with the problem. Me and my poor twitchy nature with slow reactions and poor timing.
Which is why I’ve surmised that Octahedron is actually the Dark Souls of platform games. It’s up there with the likes of Super Meat Boy and even this years’ Celeste for being harsh, unforgiving, occasionally cruel, but eventually quite satisfying.
Why would you want to play something like that?
Glutton for punishment. That, and it’s really, really, REALLY difficult to put your controller down. I tried, quite a few times actually. I was ready to quit after just a few levels because Octahedron has a brutal difficulty curve. But I wanted to give the game a fair crack, and honestly I was curious to see what I was going to get next.
I’m really glad I stuck with it. Because there is an impressive array of obstacles and mechanics gradually peppered throughout and something genuinely refreshing about being the one in control of creating your own platforms.
Basically, you are transported to this neon-lit, vibrant and psychedelic world called Veetragoul and it’s up to you to ascend to the top of the level and jump through a portal to the next stage. Along the way, you collect kite-like triangles which must be held for a few seconds before you claim them. You can also smash through light bulbs to collect flower-like essences contained inside and collect them from the platform above … I know, I know.
It’s quirky, bonkers, and gets really intense the further into the game you get. There’s always something new to think about that wasn’t in the previous level. Like the amount of platforms you can create before you run out and need to replenish. There’s also different enemy types, some with ranged attacks, some that jump between platforms, and even types that multiply the more platforms you create!
Octahedron is a master at keeping you on your toes and while it does give you space to think about strategies, you will still go through plenty of trial and error to get the result you need. The amount of planning and thought that must have gone into this is astonishing.
Which, by the way, makes it all the more impressive that it comes from a one-man development studio.
Wait, what? One guy made all this!?
Yep. I mean, he did work with some other people on the games’ music even though he’s an accomplished mixing engineer himself, but all the programming, art and everything else is all him. Pretty incredible, right? And no area of the game suffers for it either. It even runs at silky smooth 60fps, something a lot of massive, multi-team development studios can’t achieve as a unit.
Music and rhythm is an important part of Octahedron, though. It takes inspiration from games like Rez where you need to align your movements in time with the beat. Enemies will often shoot when the bass is at its deepest, as will platforms switch position and other things appear in the environment.
Octahedron does not offer any hand-holding. It’s a game of discovery, completely stripped of any tutorials, but it also comes with a seriously bad ass soundtrack which can help soften the blow of some of your inevitable failures.
There’s even incentive to keep powering through as Octahedron provides new platforms after you beat each world, from depositing a brick down onto the heads of unsuspecting enemies, to firing laser beams out from the bottom. But those platforms also have other uses which you’ll learn to harness as you progress through each chapter.
Octahedron is a seriously tough, frustrating, game, which you will almost certainly give up on before you finish, but its polish, sense of style, and creativity are nothing short of astonishing.
With these credentials, it’s immediately obvious why Square Enix wanted this in their collection of games and if you’re willing to give it the chance it deserves, you’ll feel the same way.
+ Incredible Soundtrack
+ Exciting Rhythm Based Action
+ Constant creativity, level to level
+ Stunning visuals at 60FPS
+ Mechanics vary nicely
– Brutal early difficulty curve not for everyone
– Menu navigation is a bit off-centre
– Split second reactions often determine outcomes
8 out of 10
Tested on PS4
Code provided by the publisher