It didn’t matter how many games I played during my time at EGX, I constantly found myself returning to play one particular title. It wasn’t any of the big budget, AAA blockbusters that we see year in and year out, but instead a charming platformer hidden away in the Square Enix Indie Collection. The game I’m referring to is Octahedron, a musical platforming game by Demimonde Studios in which players must build their own platforms to progress. After playing the game several times, I also had the chance to interview the developer behind Octahedron, Marco, otherwise known as Monomirror.
Considering how simple the concept is, it’s one that holds a surprising amount of depth. Players must use platforms that they build themselves to progress through levels and as a means of attacking enemies. Those aspects intertwined during gameplay make Octahedron an absolute delight to play. Whether it’s finding the quickest way through a level or going for 100% completion, the experience is an absolute blast because of how solid the core concept is.
The game has been in development for four years now, something Marco was happy to discuss: “Development for game started four years, ago. Before I had even settled on Octahedron I wanted to make a platformer, regardless of how saturated the genre is. I really liked old school 8bit and 16bit platform games. So I had a think about what I could do to make that type of game modern and interesting.
“I had several ideas for platformers that I had prototyped. The one that stuck out involved creating your own platforms, in real time, rather than drawing them. During the prototype stage I found myself having a lot of fun just making platforms and jumping on them to progress. Everything else just kinda came from that concept. To begin with I was trying to make horizontal levels, but I found that jumping vertically was a lot more fun and felt far more intuitive. The other inspiration I found was Mega Man, the simplicity of jumping and how it controls definitely.”
Backing up the fun gameplay is a solid soundtrack; each enemy, hazard and environmental element is synced to Octahedron’s tempo, resulting in every level having a very distinct feel. Each song is fast and unrelenting, encouraging players to constantly move and progress. It’s unapologetically dance-inspired, taking queues from sub-genres such as; dance, disco, chiptune and even house music. I asked Marco about the sound design process going into Octahedron.
“Originally, I wanted to write all of the music myself, but once the game grew in size I realised I wouldn't be able to. That's when Chipzel, a friend of mine, joined the project and contributed four very unique tracks to the game. As more people joined, it became more important that the music being contributed to the game was within a certain tempo range to ensure a consistent and recognizable rhythm through the entire game. Outside of that the contributors were able to create whatever they wanted within their stylistic area. Overall there are 5-6 different people that have contributed alongside myself, and I'd say my contribution is in the 30% range.”
Even though the title isn’t due for release until early next year, Octahedron was one of the most polished games at EGX. It seems like the game is near enough completed and now Marco is simply adding the finishing touches and tying up the loose ends. When I asked about a potential release date I was given a fairly tight window of Q1 2018. I pushed for confirmation of a release on other consoles, namely the Nintendo Switch.
“That's a question I get a lot, and I understand why, as I'd love to see it on the Switch myself. Right now, there isn't really the infrastructure for me to port it to the Switch, but as soon as I am able, I'd love to see it happen.”
For now, I look forward to seeing Octahedron release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The small portion that I experienced (several times over) had me wanting to play more, so I imagine the full release will have a similar effect. This is one too watch out for if you like addictive platforming games with a well produced soundtrack.