Octahedron is an epileptic orgy of sights, sounds, and tightly designed platforming. Within seconds, its visual style and effects work make a strong impression.
The core gameplay requires no time to understand. You can jump with the press of a button. Pressing the trigger button materializes a single platform mid-air. Holding the trigger while moving allows the platform to follow underneath the player avatar until its timer dissipates. World 1 is a competent, though run-of-the-mill set of levels that serves as a training grounds for later sections.
The 50 levels are split into various worlds with each gradually progressing in difficulty. Very few jarring difficulty spikes break up the experience. New worlds and levels continually introduce mechanics and gimmicks. The player only has access to a basic platform during the first few levels. However, you’ll soon summon platforms that shoot a stream of laser fire underneath or a platform with large spikes protruding from either end. As ideas are thrown into the mix, Octahedron remains grounded by applying a single rule across each level: only one materialized platform can be active at once. These player-activated platforms are tools for manipulating level gimmicks.
While completion by way of a mad-dash to the exit is perfectly viable, each level is dotted with collectibles. Many of these collectibles, especially toward the end-game, are placed off the beaten path, requiring more precise application of the game’s systems. Making it to a level’s goal post shows you know how to play the game. Collecting everything shows you have mastered the nuances of micromanaging the platform’s timer, obstacles, and the total number of allowable succeeding platforms. At times, collecting these engenders a feeling emblematic of games like Super Meat Boy; that very familiar “just one more time” mentality.
It helps that levels are short enough to feel within reach. Platforming challenges are manageable obstacle courses rather than wars of attrition. With that said, Octahedron falters in its end-game. After completing the five main worlds, you’ll go through another series of worlds. Instead of level 1-1, you’ll play through level x1-1 and so on. This final stretch of the game destroys the carefully thought out balance of everything preceding it. Prior to the X levels, the avatar can continue jumping from activated platform to activated platform. However, each level has a different hard limit on the amount of platforms that can be activated in succession before the player is required to touch the ground. The X levels remove this limit, making it infinite. This removal coupled with more homogenized level design makes the last 10 or so levels feel like unnecessary filler.
Octahedron is a fine platformer that can be as difficult as you make it. Simple start-to-end runs are manageable enough for any gamer while optional collectibles test the player’s skills far beyond any core level’s primary obstacles. It remains consistently enjoyable thanks to its drip-feeding of mechanics and gimmicks, though its final levels are a mess. This final act’s uninspired laziness blends in with the equally bland soundtrack.
Disclaimer: A free code of Octahedron was sent by the publisher for the purposes of this review.