Octahedron is a special game. We’ve seen it grow over the years, as it first appeared at EGX 2014, but didn’t surface again until EGX Rezzed 2017 where it left a lasting impression on many of us at TSA. I was mildly worried when it didn’t release last year, but a deal with Square Enix to make it part of their Square Enix Collective has finally allowed the game to see the light of day. The question is, was it worth the wait?
The concept behind Octahedron is relatively simple – a platformer where the player creates platforms underfoot. In each level, there are a specific number of platforms that can be generated before landing on solid ground. These range wildly from only being able to create one at a time, to generating 50 in another level. Yet all the while, these levels all provide their individual challenge.
What separates Octahedron from similar platformers is the presentation. The techno vibe won’t necessarily please everyone, but it absolutely fits with the music. It has that rave quality that makes it incredibly catchy, but also pumps up the tension as the timing for dodging obstacles becomes tighter. Combined with the dazzling neon display, it’s certainly has a striking game.
Each level is built around a couple of ideas that persist throughout. One usually uses part of the most recent upgrade obtained, while the other tends to be either a new type of platform or obstacle. These intricately designed levels can range from direct leaps upwards towards the goal, to more sprawling levels that wrap around. It’s really apparent that a lot of love and care has gone into the design.
During the course of each level, there are three types of collectibles to snatch up along the way. While hearts give more health, flowers unlock the next area and are found by smashing lightbulbs or defeating enemies. Since these are relatively compulsory to obtain, it was fairly easy to meet the quota as I took each stage as methodically as possible.
There are also triangles of different colours that upon collection require the player to not get hit for a few seconds before they’re permanently collected. These will eventually unlock hidden paths in level select on each map to a hidden level, which after completion unlocks a new ability. Rather than some tangible reward, it’s nice to see the game give players extra utility upon exploring the game further.
Of course, if you’ve followed our previous coverage of a few of the levels, you’d already know this, but what makes Octahedron so surprising is just how different each one can be. I’ve certainly had frustrating moments with one or two levels, but even having to restart upon running out of lives just made me more determined to finish. Still, at £9.99 or your regional equivalent, it’s great value for those looking for plenty of game for not a lot of investment.
Perhaps the only knock against Octahedron is that the window for creating platforms is somewhat tight. On more than one occasion, particularly during an intense moment, the very minor input lag I experienced made it so that the avatar would plummet into an obstacle. This made some hazards a lot more difficult than they needed to be, given the otherwise slick and simple control scheme. It’s meant to be hard to master, but when basic functionality isn’t as slick as it could be, that hampered my enjoyment somewhat.
Octahedron is a great platforming experience with a unique identity, style, and gameplay. Its dozens upon dozens of levels are a tiny bit on the short side, but mastering those challenges is what kept me coming back for more. It’s one of the more distinct offerings as part of the Square Enix Collective and is something of a hidden gem.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4