Octahedron is a delightful puzzle platformer with the best soundtrack of the year. The Finger Guns Review;
It’s no secret to anyone in the industry that the indie explosion of the last two years has seen an absolute megaton of developers see their games reach audiences they perhaps weren’t expecting. There’s a real love for the classic rules of gaming where it’s simply get from A – B, and seeing how fun and unique companies can make the experience in between. From the sidelines, it’s a wonderful thing to see and ensures we’re playing at the very least a very good game every single month. Demimonde – a one man studio based in Switzerland – have thrown their hat into the ring with the cracking Octahedron.
Octahedron is a puzzler/platformer that looks like an acid fever dream I had once when I lived in Ayia Napa. The fluidity of how the game covers the entire colour spectrum makes everything pop off the screen with delightful uses of its visual centrepiece and it’s difficult to look away. Controlled as not to be an absolute rainbow assault on the senses, the joyful visuals counter-balance a game that can be infuriating, but it a rather delightful kind of way.
After a rather bleak black and white opener, you’re dropped into a world of colour and in order to escape each level you’re going to have to power up the levels from the bottom. The games core mechanic is that you’re able to summon platforms that you can use to move your way up a level, though they don’t hang around for very long. A simple press of Square or R2 (in my case), will produce the platform, and holding down the button will keep it below you for a few seconds longer. You can also use this to your benefit by briefly moving across upon the platform, though this needs to be timed correctly.
Whilst the game can be frustrating its also rewarding when you finally work it all out. It can be tricky but the game doesn’t punish you for dying as before you know it you’re back in the action with little fuss respawning at a checkpoint. The levels have been designed in such a way that you can fall all the way back to the beginning should you take a misstep, but it’s super fun to get back up to the top after working out how to tear through the level with little fuss. I’ll be interested to see how the speedrunning community takes to Octahedron.
Naturally as the game progresses you find yourself with new abilities and new stumblings blocks to overcome, some that can really halt your progress. Trial and error is the name of the game here – in a very Celeste kind of way – and later levels can see platforms disappearing altogether, making each jump and platform summon crucial to your progress. It can be a little tricky to see them at times, which is exacerbated by the visual style – particularly how dark it can be in certain areas that aren’t lit up by the neon colours. They can blend in a little too easily with the backgrounds, though fun mechanics such as loading up the power of platforms depending on where you are in the level adds a fun dynamic to proceedings. I may have punched the air a few times once I finally got my head around certain levels. It’s akin to getting your first Chicken Dinner.
It probably goes without saying at this point but the level design is terrific and in some places, quite ingenious. The game never feels too difficult to overcome, and everything on offer can be completed with patience and at times taking a step back and just looking at each level. It’s very traditional in the puzzle platform genre – challenging without being impossible, which is the perfect balance for this kind of game.
Octahedron’s absolute highlight though is its soundtrack from Chipzel, House and Trance producers Andre Sobota and Derek Howell, and Monomirror, complimenting the visuals perfectly. The sound of spectacular chiptune compositions that underlay each level, with the colour spectrum going on in the foreground pumping out at the exact same rhythm, it’s an absolute delight and got my partner literally dancing whilst I powered through the game. I’m going to have to pick it up should a collection become available. Just brilliant.
Octahedron is a great game. It won’t be for everyone, its too challenging at the end-game I think for the more casual players but for those that love the resurgence of this particular genre it’s an absolute must-have. It’s loud and vibrant and full of terrific ‘punch-the-air’ moments that makes the challenges of making it to the top worthwhile.
Play Octahedron in a darkened room on the biggest screen you can and make sure you crank up the volume. High.
Octahedron is available now on PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro), Steam and Xbox One
Publisher: Square-Enix Collective
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we received a review code from the publishers. For our full review policy please go here.