For a genre as thoroughly explored as the platformers are, it’s ironic that a game about making platforms feels so unique. Octahedron is that game, one where the player rides small platforms like the Silver Surfer, crashes into lightbulbs that bloom flowers, all to flashing neon lights and a catchy techno soundtrack. Movements can be smooth and satisfying when things go well, and frustratingly difficult when they don’t. Painful platformers are gaining popularity again, but does Octahedron have a platform to stand on amongst the crowd?
You play as a diamond-headed humanoid character in the game with only a couple moves. While in mid-air, holding the right trigger button will create a platform to stand on. These platforms only last a few seconds, but players can surf them to cross gaps during that time or jump and spawn a second platform to reach taller heights and surf more. As you progress you can create more platforms at a time and even switch between platforms with different mechanics. At the end of world 1 I unlocked a platform that shoots a downward beam that destroys enemies and some barriers. The changes in platform gameplay was welcome and added much needed variety in the new world.
In later levels the environments can change depending on your location and spawned platforms. Surfaces will appear and disappear as you spawn your platforms, requiring precise jumps and careful planning. There are enemies that like to drop on you from above and below and the occasional spider or flying cluster of enemies to avoid. There are checkpoints throughout each level but dying too much will cause a complete retry. Along the way there are colored collectables in the form of triangles to grab along with flowers that are added up upon completing the level. The collected flowers are part of a cumulative total to unlock future levels. I really liked how I was not battling a timer in each level, since gameplay quickly gets difficult. Octahedron is incredibly satisfying when you complete a level, but I often found myself stonewalled by overtly difficult and frustrating situations. In a platformer, the single most important aspect is precise controls. Thankfully, I experienced no issues with the controls; Octahedron simply has legitimately challenging levels.
Seeing Octahedron in motion is a genuine delight thanks to brightly flashing colors contrasting against a black background. The music is a highlight of the presentation as well, with catchy techno beats that fit perfectly with the running and jumping gameplay. Sadly there were noticeable moments where the music seemed to pause or blip slightly mid-song. Levels load quickly and restarting when necessary is quick and painless. I felt discouraged at times by checkpoints being so spread out, and I do wish the text in-game was slightly bigger. There were plenty of times when I struggled to reach part of the level, finally made it, then died and was warped back to an earlier checkpoint far away. Thankfully I could take the lessons I learned to try again and usually found faster success. The game is rated E10 by the ESRB, but parents should have no issues letting younger children play the game.
I applaud Octahedron for being a challenging platformer with style that doesn’t rely on the typical “cling to walls, slide and jump” formula. It is also a rare game that I enjoyed seeking out all of the collectables. While the spawning flowers are usually easy to locate, the game subtly hides the colored triangles well. While I can see some gamers getting frustrated when the difficulty first spikes, those who stick with it will be rewarded with dynamic gameplay and visual and auditory delights.
A review code was provided by the publisher for the game.