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Octahedron: Transfixed Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On January - 22 - 2019

Keep going up.

Standing out in the 2D platformer market is the only way to be successful in the genre, and it is something that Demimonde and Square Enix Collective’s Octahedron managed quite successfully back when the game launched for Xbox One, PS4 and PC last year. There was a combination of unique visuals, toe-tapping music, interesting gameplay quirks and challenge that ensured the game was difficult to forget. Now, Switch owners get to enjoy the game for themselves with the Octahedron: Transfixed Edition.

ote1 (Copy)

Octahedron is the master of the curveball. The opening scene suggests a very different type of game before the lead character is transported into the neon glowing world of Veetragoul, and the only way out will be by going up. This is perhaps the first real difference with all of the other 2D platformers out there, the fact that the player will be working their way up rather than from left to right, which brings with it the very real possibility of going down again, very quickly. However, whichever way the player is going, it is the visual style that hits the player in the face right away.

The game is displayed on a black background, with everything on that background sporting a rather hypnotic neon glow. Even our hero, with his strange shaped head, has taken the neon look to heart. This is not just static neon mind you, everything is pulsing with some form of disco life, and frequent explosions of all sorts will spread neon debris across the screen. It really is quite the spectacle, and runs the very real risk of melting the players’ eyeballs.

ote2 (Copy)

Bringing this neon landscape together is the soundtrack. The thumping techno beats are suit the glow of the world, but are not just there to provide background noise. The beats give the player a rhythm to aim for, although it will take a fair bit of practice in order to move around the 50 plus levels in anything like the tempo suggested by the music. Still, it does give a guide of sorts, if only the player can work out how to use it.

The thing is, the platforming is very difficult in Octahedron. The biggest twist in the gameplay comes from the fact that the player can actually create platforms for their character to land on, which you would imagine makes the game that bit easier. However, they are not there as an aid, but are essential to getting anywhere in the game. These created platforms have multiple uses as well, not just to move the player up the screen. Sometimes the platforms may be moved under the player, spanning distances from left to right, or other times they can be used to interact with things in the environment. Further down the line, there are even platforms available that will fire projectiles down to take out any nasties that may be blocking the way.

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But there are always limitations. In Octahedron, the player only has a limited number of these platforms. While this number may change from one level to the next, it is almost always not enough. Also, the platforms disappear after a while, but then players shouldn’t be hanging around long enough for that to be an issue. Landing on solid ground, such as another platform, will reset the players’ platforms and they can continue to make more, but then solid ground often comes with its own problems, such as enemy creatures or traps. This leaves the player having to plan a route through the level, all while moving quickly and precisely. It is really tense stuff.

Getting to the end of the level will inevitably lead to the next, but there is also a score involved. Finishing as quickly as possible is a worthy goal, but collectibles that can be found in every level will also add to that score, giving the more competitive players something to really work at.

Being that this is the Transfixed Edition of the game, there is a selection of additional content over the regular versions offered on other platforms, including new time trial medals, challenges and post-game unlockables. While any additional content is nice, the core game is plenty long enough, and difficult enough, for most players and it will only be the real hardcore Octahedron fans that make use of this stuff.

Octahedron is smooth and plays really well on the Switch. My only real complaint when struggling to work through the psychedelic levels comes from playing the game in handheld mode. On the big screen, everything is as fine as it can be when playing a difficult platformer. However, in handheld mode, the small screen makes everything that bit more difficult to see, especially when things start kicking off and there are neon explosions all over the screen. Some may enjoy the challenge, but others will find playing in handheld mode will simply stretch their patience too far.

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Octahedron really made its mark when it launched on the other platforms last year, and playing the Switch version is just as much a mixture of enjoyment and frustration. The bright neon visuals and thumping soundtrack make the game really memorable, while the platform placing mechanic differentiates the gamer totally from its competition. While the extra content on the Switch version may not be enough to convince players to double dip, it’s still a nice idea. For newcomers who want a unique 2D platformer, Octahedron: Transfixed Edition will hit the neon mark.




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