Surf through a pulsating, underground world on platforms pulled from thin air in this challenging psychedelic action platformer that has you defying gravity to a pumping beat. [Demimonde]
Single-Player, Action and platforming gameplay
March 20, 2018
PS4, Xbox One, PC
So, what exactly is Octahedron? Developed by Demimonde in collaboration with the Square Enix Collective to bring to light to some truly inventive indie titles, it is a psychedelic puzzle-platformer where your character generates platforms to reach locations and complete various challenges in order to collect points and reach the end of a level. As you would hope to expect from a puzzle-platformer, the gameplay mechanics are explained very well, needing no tutorial and gradually introduced as to not be intrusive. This sets up for a short, but enjoyable adventure that features some of the most imaginative platforming I’ve seen in a video game to date.
Violence: You face enemies that can deal damage, but it is not graphic. Also, there are some thematic elements with the story involving getting lost in another world, however, none of it is presented negatively as this is a world you truly want to be lost in.
In terms of story, Octahedron doesn’t have much going for it. That’s forgivable, though, seeing as many platforming games can rest much of their weight on the gameplay alone, which is arguably where Octahedron’s strength sits. The game opens with an odd cutscene in which we see the protagonist venture outdoors and stumble across a mysterious shape in the woods. Intrigued, he touches the object, which transports him into the mysterious, fluorescent colored world of Veetragoul. He’s also imbued with the ability to instantly summon platforms beneath his feet in order to make the climb upwards and return home.
One thing I really enjoyed was how easy it is to get into a rhythm for the platforming sections. Octahedron features an amazing soundtrack, courtesy of Chipzel and Monomirror, and makes going through over fifty of the colorful environments an absolute joy. The music was the first thing I noticed while playing and made me lose track of time as I became lost in the synth/techno melodies. I appreciate how impactful the music is in a title like this, and how it lends itself to enhancing the gameplay.
Creating platforms and using them effectively is the main gameplay gimmick of Octahedron and it succeeds in pulling this off for the most part. You start off with only being able to use two at a time, but are able to run along a platform for a short time before it disappears. Controlling your character is fairly precise and I preferred how the jumping wasn’t overly floaty, but represented a good balance in using gravity while still being enjoyable.
The gameplay does not remain the same either as every new level introduces a new mechanic, whether it is flipping between walls or being shot through a tube using the platforms you create. Each level has more of a vertical orientation than the traditional horizontal negotiation often presented by many platformers. This makes creating platforms more rewarding as you have to use every gameplay mechanic to your advantage in order to successfully ascend the environments. Octahedron does a great job of making your actions fall in rhythm with music and it all flows very well.
Enemies you encounter are not difficult to understand with each type having specific attack patterns apart from one another. For example, one type of enemy will shoot upwards at you and a variant of this design might hang from the ceiling and shoot down as you pass by. Simplicity can become an issue, but in a title like this I appreciate how the enemies aren’t distracting and are never a major threat above the actual platforming.
Specific platforms can double up as weapons, enabling you to destroy enemies that lay underneath. Each level is home to obtainable flowers, some of which are hidden inside light bulbs that can be destroyed, and other collectables that are in harder to reach areas. You’re also scored at the conclusion of each level, which does increase the replay value for those that like to high-score chase. Octahedron is also a great game for streaming, since it’s simple and to the point with lush visuals to observe.
Because everything is so dependent on the musical tracks for each level, I was worried that things would quickly become repetitive, a concern which Octahedron smartly avoids by ensuring that the core gameplay is flexible enough to handle a wide range of play and then tailoring the rest around the music itself, rather than trying to shoehorn mechanics into pre-selected tracks. Octahedron also runs a consistent 60 frames per second without a hitch. This fluid frame rate gives the game a super slick feel that complements the psychedelic visuals rather nicely.
Overall, Octahedron is a stunner to look at with competent platforming at its core. Was immediately enthralled by the graphics and soundtrack and it made the whole experience enjoyable. New gameplay mechanics are introduced at a satisfying rate, and while I wish the platforming played as well as the sheen of the visuals, it still controlled well. If you’re on the market for a short and sweet platformer that is unlike the current crop in presentation, Octahedron will scratch that itch.
Review code generously provided by Renaissance PR
Review originally published by Josh Brant, and has been restored after a website outage.
+ Exciting and lush visuals
+ Outstanding soundtrack
+ Steady progression in gameplay mechanics
- Story is irrelevant
- Short game length
- Lack of innovation in basic platforming elements