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Hexagonesque: Rotational

You will never escape

Terry Cavanagh’s Super Hexagon is very mean. It pushed me down and stole my lunch money. Then it calmly suggested that I try again, and I did and it got pretty brilliant after a while and IT WAS ALL THE GAME’S FAULT. I’m not sure why anyone would write a love letter to it, but that’s exactly what Rotational is – and a fairly interesting one at that. The basic idea – rhythmically avoid a world that moves around you and then fail and cry and never stop until you are a perfect reflex piston man-machine – is exceedingly similar, but creator Kevin Messman went and added an extra dimension. Also, he got consulting aid from notorious Super Hexagon technoguru and Edge features editor Jason Killingsworth. You’ve been warned.

Rotational is fun! At least, based on what little I’ve been able to play with my severely atrophied flesh fingers. Basically, squares close in on you one-at-a-time, and you have to turn and face the narrow window where they remain open. Hit a wall and it’s back to, er, square one.

In my experience, the trick is to never stop moving while always staying a few steps ahead. I was most successful when I was preparing to intercept multiple squares in a single motion – as opposed to only focusing on the one miliseconds away from smooshing my globular not-face against its coldly lined Matrix wall. Oh, another tip: things change quite a bit once you pass the eight second mark. Stick with the rhythm and you’ll figure it out.

You’ll still fail, though. You’ll fail a whole, whole lot. And thanks to the addition of an extra dimension, it’s sometimes hard to tell where exactly you’re facing, which can lead to some confusing and/or frustrating deaths. Really, that’s Rotational’s one big sticking point. There’s just too much visual information at times, and it’s not presented quite as cleanly as that of its spiritual predecessor.

Rotational is still well worth a try, though, especially if you somehow managed to scale Hexagon’s swirling mountains of madness without breaking your brain bone in the process. It’s a similar sort of challenge, but with a few new tricks that ensure extra mileage. It pretty well nails Hexagon’s rapid-fire “I messed up, but now I’m getting it so just one more try” appeal, too. So again, you’ve been warned.

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Nathan Grayson

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