Throw a rock and chances are you’ll hit a new platformer. That’s what it’s starting to feel like every time I start my Nintendo Switch lately, the Nintendo eShop constantly updated with new additions to hop and jump my way through. A couple of weeks ago it was the beautiful Unruly Heroes, a game that managed to blend puzzles, combat and platforming into one joyous package. This time we move onto the neon-lit world of Octahedron: Transfixed Edition where creating your own platforms is the name of the game.
You heard right. In Octahedron: Transfixed Edition while the platforming itself is fairly standard stuff – you can really only move about and jump – granting your character the ability to summon small platforms beneath your feet out of nowhere and even ride them creates an opportunity for puzzles and complexities aplenty.
Starting with the basics, gaps that are either too wide or too high for your regular jumping ability can be cleared by placing a few platforms of your own as stepping-stones between. Seems simple enough, right? Of course, as you make your way through the game’s numerous worlds you’ll find more and more curveballs thrown your way. This can take on the shape of stage hazards like platforms that only appear once you’ve moved past them or launch pads that send your own created platform shooting upward giving you added elevation. You may even find the number of platforms you can summon raised or lowered forcing you to be even more creative with how you tackle stages.
Everything about the game feels very snappy and swift-paced helping keep the action constantly electrifying. Sure the speed combined with the sheer wealth of things happening on screen can lead to some unwanted falls or even deaths but much like other games of this nature like Super Meat Boy or Celeste, you’re so quick to get back into the action it doesn’t bog down the momentum too much.
Octahedron: Transfixed Edition kicks off with a rather brief introduction in a series of almost painted looking stills. In it, a man wonders off into the woods in order to investigate a bright light. Upon finding its source, he makes the risky decision to probe further only to be sucked into a strange new world, his head transformed into an octahedron. Given the futuristic neon style the rest of the game opts for, it certainly feels out of place and to be honest kind of throwaway.
While the main goal of each level is to, of course, make it through in one piece, there are plenty of collectibles to nab along the way too. Flowers are your more abundant item that bloom from light bulbs you manage to pass spawned platforms through. Collecting a certain number across worlds is required to advance but these gates are rarely too demanding even if you miss a handful along the way. Colored triangles are your other main collectible and these lie a little off the beaten path often requiring you to be a little more creative with your platform usage and movement. Completionists will also find a variety of challenges to tackle in every stage too, ranging from getting 100 percent of the collectibles stashed away to make it through without dying and beating a certain time.
The game is a vibrant and colorful treat for the eyes, every level an exciting explosion of neon lights and effects sure to get your pulse racing. This futuristic vibe is backed by an excellent selection of dance beats that again only serve to add fuel to the ‘excitement fire’. As eye-catching as the game’s visual style might be though, there are moments where the screen can become awfully busy making deciphering things like enemies or usable platforms tougher than it needs to be. There were a number of times where I’d find myself repeating sections simply because I couldn’t quite make out what it was and where I was meant to be going or avoiding. Frustrating as it could be though rarely did it ever become overwhelmingly so.
Octahedron: Transfixed Edition is an eye-catching game whose platforming keeps things simple without sacrificing its challenge. It’s that kind of ‘one more try’ feeling, fast-paced action experience the Switch was born to do and despite some frustrations, I had a great, and rewarding, time building platforms and navigating Octahedron’s luminous playgrounds.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Square Enix Collective