Left. Right. Leeeeft. Left, Right. Right. Right. Left. COME ON!
June 14, 2013 10:14 AM   Subscribe

A minute is a long flippin' time. Fill it like you care. One of the most minimalistic games to be released last year, Super Hexagon has been praised by many as being hypnotic, addictive, briiliantly designed, and devilishly challenging. It's a game that, like Tetris, delivers pleasure with each inevitable failure, and is simply about reaching escape velocity from your own feeble reflexes. The game has a reputation for turning one's appreciation and apprehension of its challenges into intense addiction, constant improvement, and fervent devotion.

The goal: Control a small triangle which circles around a central hexagon (which occasionally collapses into a pentagon or square) attempting to avoid contact with incoming "walls".
The controls: Left, Right, and all the muscle memory your brain can accumulate.

Originally a flash game, it has now been fully realized and expanded to many major platforms. It is most popular in the iOS and Android versions, but the game is also available for Windows, OSX and Linux.

The creator of the game is Terry Cavanagh, who is very well known in the indie community for his challenging and innovative little games Don't Look Back and VVVVVV (previously previously previously previously previously previously previously). He describes the game as being tuned in such a way that a loss really doesn't feel like a loss, and states that the mobile versions of the game are the most optimal for regular play. Incidentally, he owned the high scores in the hardest modes for a long time, and here's a video of him completing the top difficulty and revealing the end of the game (Spoilers!)

The game is backed by an effervescent but relentless chip-tune soundtrack by Chipzel.

Don't get discouraged.
posted by mysticreferee (41 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Rage Quit on Super Hexagon
posted by Lucinda at 10:21 AM on June 14, 2013 [8 favorites]

I think I'd have seizures if I played that for any length of time
posted by slater at 10:33 AM on June 14, 2013

Ok. Under which of those links is the game hiding?
posted by notyou at 10:34 AM on June 14, 2013 [8 favorites]

I can't say I'm fervently devoted to it but in thirty second increments it does entertain like very little else. It's kind of weird, yet not weird, that a moving world and a stationary self is so natural to us. I guess that is how we go through life.
posted by selfnoise at 10:36 AM on June 14, 2013

I just bought it for the iPhone based on this post. After having now played it for about four minutes (bathroom break, but that's TMI) my review is as follows:

Fuck this game. Fuck this game TO HELL.

I can't wait to beat my 11 second record.
posted by bondcliff at 10:40 AM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]

Oh, I've also noticed that playing a game like this is a surprisingly good gauge of your current mental state. It's essentially a pure test of focus and reaction.
posted by selfnoise at 10:44 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

This game is the game that finally made me realize I am too old and slow to play twitch games any more.
posted by davejay at 10:45 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Super Hexagon is perhaps the closest I've ever come to what it must be like to be on speed. After about 15 minutes I was ready to throw a pen into a dude's arm.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:46 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I bought this for Android when it first came out. I left a one star review on the Play Store. A week later I tried it again and and again and again. I went back and left a 5 star review.

My first experience was very similar to Rage Quit's. My best time is 54.41.
posted by dobbs at 10:49 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I go through phases of being totally obsessed with this game. I'm fascinated with how clearly I get better with practice.
posted by corvine at 10:52 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hexagon was discussed previously. Don't miss the video jonbro posted where Mr. Cavanagh beats Super Hexagon in the hardest mode.
posted by Gary at 10:52 AM on June 14, 2013

Well, I for one am happy to see the return of Flash Friday (oh, and previously).
posted by box at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2013

Huh--looks like three bucks on the site. Is it still available to play for free?
posted by box at 10:54 AM on June 14, 2013

Oops, sorry guys, didn't see the old Hexagon thread. (Damn, and I thought I searched pretty thoroughly)

Hopefully this can act as the thread for the game's new incarnation on mobile devices?
posted by mysticreferee at 10:54 AM on June 14, 2013

Is it still available to play for free?

The flash game, Hexagon, was always free. The IOS/Android/PC versions always cost.

See also, Hexagon, World of Warcraft style.
posted by zabuni at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

my 6 year old son is a master at this game.
posted by twjordan at 11:17 AM on June 14, 2013

Despite the apparent simplicity, and despite the hype, I think beating the hardest level of Super Hexagon was my most satisfying moment in gaming ever.
posted by roofus at 11:24 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Approx. playthrough time: six minutes.
posted by attente at 11:32 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

My amateur tip: Always warm up playing the hardest level you've unlocked. Then go back and try for a good score on the easiest level.

It's such a simple, completely unoriginal video game concept (move back and forth to avoid obstacles coming at you), and yet so incredibly well tuned and designed. It feels like the pure, refined essence of twitch / flow video gaming.
posted by straight at 11:37 AM on June 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

And, I love the music. Almost as good as the VVVVVV soundtrack (my kids, who haven't played VVVVVV adore the music from it).
posted by straight at 11:38 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

From the joystiq article: "The music starts in a random place" when you restart, he noted. "If the music started in the very beginning every single time, then every single time you died you'd feel like 'Oh, I've lost and I have to start again from the beginning.' It's really important you don't feel that way, you don't feel like you've lost."

I guess it was just my imagination that if you have a better-than-average run the game rewards you by letting the music continue without interruption?
posted by straight at 11:57 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

No thread about Super Hexagon is complete without a dubstep 420 Noscope MLG video.

Terry Cavanagh said in an interview that if a player can finish the first difficulty's 60-second run, they have all the skills they need to finish all six of them. Easily my favorite competitive-style video game of last year, and with a crazy high skill ceiling.
posted by uphc at 12:17 PM on June 14, 2013

Mr. Cavanagh beats Super Hexagon in the hardest mode.

God damn. I'm obviously a lower life-form.
posted by smidgen at 12:41 PM on June 14, 2013

uphc: "Terry Cavanagh said in an interview that if a player can finish the first difficulty's 60-second run, they have all the skills they need to finish all six of them. "

To me, and my limited skill at this game, he might as well say 'Well, if you can run 10 miles with two broken legs, you can run a marathon with two broken legs.'
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:15 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you still not turn off the music in the app? I had to quit playing because of that. iOS developers, let me listen to my own music.
posted by corpse at 1:59 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rage Quit link has large intrusive ad, which is 3× longer if you adblock. Do not want.
posted by scruss at 2:13 PM on June 14, 2013

13:53! Man, this is definitely a great flow game. I'll have to keep it handy for the next time I need to work on deep emotional issues.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I want my $2.99 back.
posted by notyou at 3:54 PM on June 14, 2013

See also, Hexagon, World of Warcraft style.
posted by zabuni at 4:16 AM on June 15
[1 favorite +] [!]

brb barfing like crazy
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:09 PM on June 14, 2013

It's £0.66 on Steam right now.
posted by ersatz at 4:13 PM on June 14, 2013

I think the genius of this game that makes it so much better than similar twitch games is the combination of randomization and patterns.

If you had to play through exactly the same maze over and over until you got to the hard bit where you died over and over, I'd probably have given this game an hour at most.

If it were purely random, my best times would probably be whenever I lucked into a randomly easy series which would be unsatisfying and demoralizing (of course I'm never going to beat the time I got on that uncommonly easy series that randomly popped up).

If there were no patterns, it would just be a trivial test of reaction time, with no real way to improve once you hit your other than training your reflexes. I doubt you'd have nearly as much opportunity to get into a flow.
posted by straight at 4:35 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Lucinda: "Rage Quit on Super Hexagon"

And that pretty much describes my usual play session.
posted by Samizdata at 4:59 PM on June 14, 2013

My brain doesn't get his game at all. I'm pretty damn good at Tetris, I can flow really well with it. This game, on the other hand. I can't handle the imprecision. If it was simply a question of tap once to get to the center of the next segment, it'd make more sense. But to have 360 control? What?
posted by legospaceman at 6:14 AM on June 15, 2013

Here's a few things that helped me 'grasp' the game, if you will. My 6 cents. I've now beaten all levels except hardestestest (close to 30 seconds on it now), and honestly, I went through the same frustrated reactions as every single one of you when I started it.

1. As many have pointed out, try the hardest difficulty first available to you before really starting to play the game. It will get your brain used to some insane speed and reflexes. Now get back to the easiest difficulty (or the one you're trying to beat) and you'll find that it is much slower, allowing you to observe the escape routes.

2. Looking all over the screen is important. VERY IMPORTANT. Especially at least 2 to 3 hops away from your next escape.

3. This is my favorite pro-tip: Try not to think of reaching the line breaks in the shapes. That's the first instinct always: "Alright, here's a big loopy hexagon, where's the break in it? Which edge should I go to?" NO. Look at the shaded areas. There's a shaded area you need to get to.

̶E̶D̶G̶E̶S̶.̶ ̶N̶O̶.̶ ̶X̶

The beautiful thing about this is that your brain starts comprehending the real estate of your escape route in a much simpler, comfortable way. I'm in this shaded area, I need to get to that one. The real estate you look at with this in mind rather than, broken edge, gap here or there, is much better. This will also improve your rotation skills.

4. On the topic of rotation, get used to holding down your tap, arrow keys, whatever. Don't tap-tap-tap, hit-hit-hit always. (Though there are some patterns later in the game that will need you to do this)

5. You will die. A lot. Death is a part of the game. I know it's such a cliched thing to keep saying this over and over in this thread, but look at each death as a level in a much larger game, and you will start to play the game a lot, which is what is required to beat it.

6. Compete with someone close to you. There's no better motivator than, "Goddamn it she/he got 40 seconds and I'm going to beat it." Or, any other method that lets you set goals for yourselves.
posted by mysticreferee at 8:40 AM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

What do you guys think about analog vs. digital controls for this game? I've been playing on PC and sometimes I'll try the analog triggers on a controller, other times I'll use the keyboard, mouse, or digital controller buttons.

I feel like, in theory, analog ought to give superior control, but in practice, all my best times are with digital controls. But I don't feel really confident with either one. When I die, it's almost always because I over-shoot or under-shoot with the controls.
posted by straight at 11:19 AM on June 15, 2013

The motions also sync up with the music. Generally for big moves the time you need to hold down the controller will match up with a beat.
posted by empath at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2013

I am not good at this game at all, and so I am reluctant to offer advice, but here's some: pay attention to the length of key presses that produce 60, 120, 180, 240 and 300-degree moves. Because you'll be doing those a lot.
posted by box at 9:14 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I play this a lot on PC with keyboard. I've beaten the first two levels. But I stink on ice on the android version. The controls work much better on PC for me.

A tip that helped me on PC was to disable V-sync. Tightens up the controls a bit.

Another tip is that if you have the soundtrack, you can play the music, pretend to play the game and trick people into thinking you are a god at the game.
posted by jclarkin at 9:57 PM on June 15, 2013

I decided to play for a few minutes again and got 46:50, and don't feel quite so old any more.
posted by davejay at 10:53 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

53:46. COME ON!

The worst part about the Android version of this is my right thumb needs to cover half the screen if I don't want to keep accidentally hitting the back button. Why isn't there an option to lose the soft keys and access the menu with a gesture or something?

Also, having played the HEXAGONEST for a few seconds, I'm having a hard time believing that I am only a marginal improvement away from being able to beat that monster.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Also, having played the HEXAGONEST for a few seconds, I'm having a hard time believing that I am only a marginal improvement away from being able to beat that monster."

There is only about a 2% difference in DNA between us and chimps. All of humanity's achievements and our history rests on this minor tweak in the framework.

Ergo: You can beat Hexagonest. Your brain will get there, don't worry. You still have Hyper-Hexagonest to worry about. :)
posted by mysticreferee at 8:33 AM on June 19, 2013

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