Into The Labyrinth: Expand

Like a slow motion Super Hexagon, Expand [official site] drew me into its labyrinth depths the moment I laid eyes on it. The trailer’s sombre piano music and black-and-white-with-a-splash-of-red vibe gave me reason to anticipate a supporting plot about divorce or man flu, but I’ve played the first half hour and all energies seem to be concentrated on the starkly beautiful visuals and some lovely course design. I use the word ‘course’ because Expand feels like an obstacle course – a strange and hypnotic obstacle course.

There’s a definite sense of melancholy attached to these shifting spaces and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the whole thing does turn out to be a metaphor for something, as is law for puzzle-platformers in this year of our discord, 7 AB.

Expand isn’t a puzzle-platformer though. It’s a rotating maze-game, a dodge ’em up in which increasingly complex structures melt into shape around you and threaten to crush you between their columns. Developer Chris Johnson describes Expand as creating a “sense of meditation” and what I’ve played has certainly been pleasant, pulling me along toward more elaborate structures and designs rather than frustrating with difficulty spikes and seemingly impassable areas.

Expand is coming to itch and Steam on the 30th.

3 Comments

  1. SaxonDouglass says:

    What a nice surprise to see this on RPS. I know the creator Chris Johnson and he’s a very thoughtful designer. I really enjoyed my time with an early version a while back, so I’ll be looking forward to playing the finished game!

  2. 4026 says:

    Good grief, it really is 7AB. I suddenly feel old.

  3. Pakeeda says:

    It’s great to see this game close to release! I shared a hostel room with Chris, and Chris (the music director) in Melbourne, Australia while they were presenting at PAX Australia. They gave me a spare pass to get into the show, and I got to try out their early build. It’s a great game, the music and game play together are very relaxing. I would definitely recommend it.