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Super Hexagon, available for Android as well iOS, is a mind-bending mobile rhythm game with an addictive potential that puts much of its competition, including a legion of Flappy Birds clones, thoroughly to shame.

Super Hexagon Start Screen

Super Hexagon

Super Hexagon is the latest offering from Terry Cavanagh, the mind behind VVVVVV, a frustrating but compelling platformer Check Out These 4 VVVVVV Web Nuggets Check Out These 4 VVVVVV Web Nuggets I'm an avid fan of the game VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh, and I'm willing to bet that many of you on MakeUseOf are fans of the game as well. It's probably one of the most... Read More . The game has an appealing, minimalist geometric style, and a profoundly addictive gameplay loop (not to mention a killer soundtrack).

The concept is simple enough: you play a tiny triangular ship, moving in circles through an infinite randomized maze collapsing towards the titular hexagon in the center of the screen. Touching the walls means instant death, and their thickness, speed, and convolution increase over time to raise the difficulty of the game. The game is made harder by the random spinning, skewing, and sliding of the entire game world.
Super Hexagon Gameplay
The game is much more challenging than you might expect from a mobile game – Super Meat Boy (the game with nigh impossible 5 Gaming Achievements That Are Close To Impossible 5 Gaming Achievements That Are Close To Impossible That's right, this is a challenge from me to you. I'll bet all my marbles that no one reading this article has (fairly) earned any of the achievements you're about to read into. Read More achievements) is an apt comparison. On ‘hard,’ the game’s easiest difficulty, surviving the full minute needed to beat the level is a pretty substantial challenge. There are no saves, lives, or second chances: a single failure, and you start over from the beginning. The tedium this might produce is offset by the short lives and the randomized levels.  The game is never quite repetitive enough to bore you.

The game also does a beautiful job of funneling you from death to rebirth as quickly as possible, starting you over with two taps in a fraction of a second. Life and death blend together, and you’ll find, if you aren’t paying attention, that you’ve sunk more time into it than you would have thought possible.

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Super Hexagon Death Screen

The game comes with a total of six difficulty levels (if you’ve played the desktop version, the features are virtually identical). Three of the six difficulty levels are locked, and you must beat an easier difficulty to unlock them.

For your three dollars, the game offers a shocking degree of replayability: after several hours of gameplay, we were only barely able to beat the first level. The game also makes a good competitive game as we went back and forth comparing top scores. Each level has its own characteristic patterns and its own color palette, music, and variations on the core gameplay: Some are more fun than others.

Super Hexagon Difficulty Select 2

Interface

The controls are simple, if not perfect: tap the right half of the screen to spin the ship clockwise, and the left half of the screen to spin counterclockwise. The acceleration isn’t totally linear, and it takes a few dozen deaths to get the hang of rotating exactly as far as you intend to. Even after hours of gameplay, we still died due to timing errors pretty regularly.
Super Hexagon Difficulty Select

Music

The backing music to the game is a buzzy electronic score by Niamh “Chipzel” Houston, which lines up nicely with the pulsing, sliding graphics. It’s not exactly pleasant, but it evokes arcade games and chiptunes of old 10 Free Chiptune & Video Game Soundtrack Albums [Sound Sunday] 10 Free Chiptune & Video Game Soundtrack Albums [Sound Sunday] Sound Sunday is often inspired by readers like yourself. The material for this edition was collected over several months, following the request of Luca in January this year. All of the albums demonstrate skill and... Read More , and we found that we played significantly better with the music pumping.
Super Hexagon Credits

Performance

Even on our LG G2, the game’s performance was less than ideal, dropping more than the occasional frame. It also burned through battery life at a surprisingly rapid rate (similar to streaming HD video), which is unfortunate for a game so well suited to idle play in lines and bathrooms. Don’t expect to get more than a few hours of gameplay on a full charge.

Worth It?

Despite being a little pricey for a mobile game (and hard on your phone), the elegant design of Super Hexagon and its absurd addictive potential redeem it.  If you’re looking for an idle time waster, Super Hexagon is worth your time and your money.

  1. Sarvesh
    March 7, 2014 at 3:59 am

    There is also a similar game available on windows phone.. its called I am Box.

  2. William A
    March 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I think it's important to mention that it isn't exactly a recently released game. It was recently released on iOS and Android, but it was actually released in November of 2012 on Steam ( http://store.steampowered.com/app/221640/ ), where it's been thriving for a while.

    While, perhaps, not as many of your users use Steam, I feel that it's good to mention that there's a PC version too, for those that would prefer to play it with a keyboard.

  3. Ben S
    March 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    This is a fantastic game. Not for the faint of heart, to be sure, but it is a blast. Much better suited for mobile devices than PCs, in my opinion. I'm a big fan of Terry's work - VVVVVV was one of the first indie games I ever played.
    If you like Super Hexagon but are still stuck on Flappy Bird type games, check out Maverick Bird. Terry Cavanagh made his own Flappy Bird fan game. It's the same sort of gameplay, except that you can fast-fall and the music rocks, just like Super Hexagon's. Check it out!
    http://terrycavanaghgames.com/maverickbird/

  4. Victor O
    March 4, 2014 at 4:40 am

    I played the game for a long while many months ago, and quit after a few months. I guess I just didn't have the patience :P

    • Andre I
      March 4, 2014 at 7:54 am

      It does take a while to get the rhythm of it down. It is rewarding, though, once you get the hang of it. Terry Cavanaugh is very good at what he does.

  5. Andre I
    March 4, 2014 at 12:52 am

    I admit, electronic music has never been my cup of tea, but to each their own. It certainly sets the mood of the game rather effectively.

  6. Justin P
    March 4, 2014 at 12:37 am

    "not exactly pleasant"

    Going to have to disagree with you, if the trailer is any indication. That music is awesome. Might have to check this one out, because VVVVVV is a masterpiece.

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