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Octahedron is a Mesmerising (and Challenging) Platformer

Take neon-lit levels, which come with ample epilepsy warnings, and a strange protagonist who for some reason has an eight-sided shape for a head, and you have Octahedron; Square Enix’s latest platformer developed by Demimonde.

It has an intro that perhaps explains why its protagonist has a geometrical shape where their head should be, but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter; Octahedron is all about its gameplay. And trust me, its gameplay is worth the surrealness.

Octahedron blends platforming and puzzle-solving with its absolutely pumping soundtrack. Quite literally, in fact; the majority of its enemies move in time to the beat. Set upon a solid black background, levels are basic in appearance – almost like more complex Pac-Man layouts – but are drenched in so much pulsating and strobing neon that they are strangely mesmerising.

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And then you have your protagonist; your strangely octahedron-headed avatar. For some reason they have the ability to create little platforms out of thin air, which is handy given that most environmental platforms are just out of jumping reach. As you’ve probably already guessed then, Octahedron is all about running, jumping and creating platforms to reach the end of each of its 50 levels.

Like most platformers, however, simply reaching the exit point of each level isn’t quite enough to get the job done; you’re going to need to pick up collectables along the way. Flowers can simply be walked over and lightbulbs smashed by platforms to amass shards of the Octohedron. Collect enough of them in each batch of levels and you’ll be able to progress to the next world. It’s a simple system but one that works, forcing you to attain a level of mastery that will bode you well for what’s coming up next.

As you progress through the game you acquire new skills too. Initially, you can only create two platforms between touching solid ground; whether you ride them to cover chasms or simply use them as stepping stones is up to you. Progress further into the game, however, and your platform abilities become more advanced. It’s great fun destroying enemies below you with a laser beam, for example.

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What’s really impressive about Octahedron though, is how it ties your platforming capabilities in with the level design to create challenging conundrums. It’s one of those games in which it often pays to take a moment and assess the layout of a particular part of a level rather than rushing in, taking stock of your abilities and working out in which way you need to use them to reach your goal. After all, you do have a limited supply of health and lives.

Some levels require you to fill a meter displayed on a platform to make it solid, for instance, while others have platforms that appear and disappear as you create your own. And then there are environmental elements that change how the platforms you create act, such as transporting you to a new area or catapulting you in the air. Each level in Octahedron throws up new challenges and possibilities, which keeps you on your toes and also engaged in the action.

If you like unique platforming experiences, I really suggest you give Octahedron a try. There’s a demo available on Steam right now, so you can sample the game for yourself before committing to a purchase if you’re a PC gamer, but chances are you’ll love it. Honestly, there’s nothing else quite like it available.

Octahedron is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

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