Even more punishing than developer Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV, Super Hexagon [$2.99] is a test of patience and an unending source of arcade adrenaline. All who have attempted Veni Vidi Vici will know the pleasurably painful twitching they are about to endure but with added vertigo.

Those who haven't played anything from Cavanagh will quickly understand the challenge they are accepting when the lowest difficulty to select from is hard. Players assume the role of a rather pathetically small triangle which must spin clockwise or counterclockwise to survive an unending onslaught of fragmented hexagons and other shapes. The entire screen is the controller, and tapping either side dictates how the triangle spins.

Some taps will have to be short for sliding into a narrow gap and other taps will be long to withstand spiraling gaps. Super Hexagon's stages are aesthetically simple and seem to randomly generate, but several patterns feel "learnable" with enough practice. Along with new patterns, each stage also ramps up the speed, which helps the player avoid complacency just in case the mind-altering presentation wasn't enough.

Most of the time, players will be cursing these difficult stage patterns. However, I can't quite help but blame the input as not being "twitchy" enough at times to inch the triangle to safety. Sore loser? Maybe.

Completing the main game of Super Hexagon equates to three minutes of gameplay (as one must merely survive for 60 seconds per stage), but it's going to take normal humans about 100 times that amount of practice to ever see the ending. A few hours in, I still haven't cleared the last normal stage. That said, each completed stage will feel like a victory over the hardest of old-school games. Waiting for those who transcend their humanity are three harder stages to test their new, god-like twitch powers, too.

Game Center leader boards for each level provide a certain satisfaction for gloating and seeing who's actually survived the Hexagon. Options, however, are non-existent. I would have preferred a choice to mute the voice that announces each new level to hear only the pumping music after a while. I think newcomers or casual fans may also wish for a practice mode, one that allows multiple hits or respawns instead of the game's unforgiving one-chance, one-life rule.

Those squeamish or unconvinced by the challenge that awaits can sample a Super-less Hexagon in any Flash-friendly browser. Whether it was the unlocking of harder stages, finding the sweet spot to see the entire level to react, or just having hypnotic hexagons in my lap and in my bed (!!), I much preferred the iOS experience. I think the keyboard and monitor divorced me from the immersion, which the portable version thankfully ameliorates.

Inexpensive, innovative, and sensory-spinning thrills of this caliber are rare, so I suggest taking a ride on the Super Hexagon while it's on sale for $0.99 before it settles into its regular $2.99 price tag.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • ZEROFACES

    Great review, I feel you represented what this game is very well =^D

    I still haven't beaten HARD yet, my top time is 00:50:37
    Just 10 more seconds!!!

    • John_Polson_IGB

      Thanks for the review of my review :) See you on the leader boards!

  • Bi88les

    Great review; I too have not yet passed hard, the game rewards persistence to be sure! Congratulations on using the word "ameliorates" in your review! I love it!

  • ducksFANjason

    Took me a whike buy I finally got 68 on hard. I'm hopelessly addicted to this game... "1 more game" ALWAYS ends up being 10 or so more lol.

  • Benjamin Rodriguez

    "too long, did not listen"

    That's how I feel about this game. Not much of a goal, last stage is repetitive so if you get that far and can keep it it never really changes. Just until you get tired or strain yourself from twitchy boredom. 

    Music is pretty catchy though and I do like how it goes with the game. 

    And I'm sure seizures are pretty common with this game as well lol.

  • lancheta

    Watching the preview made me super dizzy..gonna pass

  • JJE

    Best arcade style game of the year so far

  • GSJ1977

    Yet another game for the masochists.

  • micahsa

    Please bring VVVVVV!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ipadgamermag Pete Morris

    I literally just gave up on The Impossible Game - I can't believe I'm considering getting into another that makes you want to hurl your iPhone out of the window! But I just can't resist that soundtrack - loving those 8-bit beats!

    • Guillaume Merle

      Hehe yeah same here, I still can't beat the level 3 in The Impossible Game !
      But I think I prefer Super Hexagon anyway, music is better, and I like the hypnotic feeling I get when playing it ;)

  • http://entrepreneurialblog.com Niclas Johansson

    Have just started playing, and daaaamn this game is awesome. Just wish the controls were one tap = move one line instead of this floaty (ok, still precise) control mode.

  • augustonz

    THIS is 4,5 stars? Boring with poor quality. 2,5 tops..

    • ANIMALCHOPPINGS

      What would make you think this is low quality?

    • McCREE

      You are very wrong.

    • Ecchi H. Tentacles Jr.

      Have you played the game yet? No? Give it a try first.
      I enjoy it more than Angry Birds (which is awful), Temple Run (less awful), Bejeweled (okay), Tilt to Live (awesome), and Plants vs. Zombies (even more awesome). This is a game that takes practice and skill, and once you get the hang of it it's an utter blast.

      • Benjamin Rodriguez

        angry birds (yes it does suck, glad I never got past the free version, although I would possibly try the space version) Temple run (super boring) bejeweled (I can see why people can like it, but not my cup of tea, love variations of it though) Tilt to live (yes super awesome) Plants vs. Zombies (it's like we have the same views) 

        Unfortunately I do not see how with all those similarities, why you can like this game.

        Although I would probably give it more then a 2.5. I mean it's universal, and the music is pretty awesome.

  • DecafTable

    Why would anyone play this? Epilepsy warning anyone? I mean damn, might as well be on drugs.

    • Ecchi H. Tentacles Jr.

      Because it's fun. And people like being on drugs, so by transitive property they like Super Hexagon too!

      • rakeshmp

        Ecchi H. Tentacles Jr., can you email me at rakesh at skullcandy dot com?  I would like to discuss a headphone idea with you.  Thanks.

  • Endless Mode

    Great game. But not recommended if you have a hangover :S

  • sbtrct

    This game has the distinction of being only the second iOS game I've played to give me motion sickness (the other was Soosiz). Not a huge problem since I've yet to get beyond 35 seconds in any one game, but my total gameplay maxes out at around five minutes. Pity, because it's fantastic.

  • mguniverse

    Is the difficulty the only reason that this game didn't get a five star review?

  • TheFrost

    This earned a permanent place on my iPhone

  • GubbyMan

    So does anyone know what the difficulty for the Hyper Hexagonest level is? I unlocked hyper haxagon and hexagoner but the last one is too hard. All I know for know is that the difficulty levels are: Hard - Harder - Hardest - Hardester - Hardestest - "and one more". Only 10 persons have unlocked the Hyper Hexagonest so I'm not really expecting an answer... XD

    • http://www.facebook.com/Roneci.DeSade Roneci Pirate-King DeSade

      The final level is "Hardestestest"

      I have beaten all levels, including the hyper levels.  On hyper hexagonest (or hardestestest) I have 69 seconds, putting me at eighth place. 

      My name is Roneci DeSade

      Feel free to worship me or leave offerings.

  • seinfeld95

    Crushing difficulty? Pattern learning? Cursing and screaming? Have you tried praising the Sun to see if it helps?

Super Hexagon Reviewed by John Polson on . Rating: 4.5