Minimalism isn't just a design choice, but a way of life. Condensing all you own into smaller and smaller packages is the way of the digital age. Look at your iPhone, it does everything! When it comes to iPhone games, I've found that less is often more. Simple games have more replay value and are usually much more fun than some bloated piece of schizophrenic garbage. Let's check out and see if Octagon lives up to its subtitle.
Octagon-A Minimal Arcade game is a bit of a long title for an incredibly simple video game. You're given an octagonal ball and an octagonal world. You have to make your way to the end of the level without falling off the platforms. No upgrades, no power-ups, no fuss. Swipe left and right to roll in that direction, and up to jump directly above. That's it.
But, as always, the simplicity of the gameplay masks the complexity of design and mechanics. The levels take absolutely no mercy and cleverly ramp up the difficulty the closer you get to the end of each. This isn't some endlessly fabricating hullabaloo, oh no. You can repeat the same level as much as you want so you can learn the different nuances and movements. Octagon makes you rely on muscle memory to make it to the end.
The clever bit is that each difficulty level has multiple layouts that you can choose from. Get frustrated with one, you can swap it out for another that might be more suited to your motor skills or way of playing. This is an absolute blessing since it prevents you from getting stuck and unable to move forward. It keeps you playing. It gives you hope.
The aesthetic appeal of Octagon is clearly for someone who has enjoyed psychedelics at some point. The colors of the platforms morph and coalesce while the outside world is made of of whirling lines. It is quite calming to be honest. No matter how frustrated you might get, you can slip into the hazy trance provided by the scenery.
The music is the exact opposite of the calm scenery and jars your adrenal glands into pumping up your heart rate. It is a frantic cacophony of electronica that is so beautiful and exciting, I frequently found myself swiping too quickly to the left and right too early and flying off into oblivion.
Octagon - A Minimal Arcade Game is some of the most fun I've had with my iPhone this year. Its simplicity and design make it engaging, addictive, and fun. It is challenging, but in that teasingly attainable way. You always are just able to make it to the next level and you can feel your reflexes getting tighter and tighter until your gaming tunnel vision kicks completely in and you miss your stop on the subway. But if you're playing Octagon, you won't even care.