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Game Music Corner — Super Hexagon

Game Music CornerWelcome to Front Towards Gamer’s video game music retrospective, Game Music Corner. Each article will feature some of the best that video game music has to offer, from the NES to the PlayStation 3 and everything in between with some of gaming’s greatest melodies.

Be sure to check out last week’s Game Music Corner of Mass Effect 3!

The iOS platform tends to stray away from the modern conventions of the gaming industry, due to its simplicity in graphics and inputs, but mostly for consumer convenience. Terry Cavanagh’s Super Hexagon realizes and fulfills on that notice with its brief and relentless gameplay, thankfully making for one the most engrossing iPhone experiences of last year and years to come. Brilliant and addicting, Super Hexagon reels us in for timed, evasion-based survival punctuated by minimalist ascetics. Jab left or right to move a triangle and avoid incoming barriers/obstacles to see how long you last. Simple as you are going to get with a game. Combine the masochistic status of difficulty (levels literally consist of Hard to Harder to Hardest) with the level of OCD embarked by personal and friendly one-upmanship.

Once again, the beauty is truly in its simplicity. Super Hexagon only uses three, count em, three songs in it. Northern Irish 8-bit artist of Chipzel creates two, while samples one tracks from a recent album of hers of “Phonetic Symphony.” To no surprise, her nostalgic rave of head-bopping tunes perfectly fit the template. Hardly a copy and paste job, songs weave to the rhythm and flow of the twisting, pulsating screen in ways the music maps the challenge seen in Rock Band/Guitar Hero and Audiosurf. Levels often begin at various parts of the song at the start of every new attempt, absurdly frequent in a span of a minute. Which to say, bravo to Chipzel or Super Hexagon creator, Terry Cavanagh, for weaving the songs seamlessly in to the rhythm and flow of the twisting, pulsating screen. Tracks warp into a sort of cycle, where it becomes unpredictable where it begins and ends. That is one way of saying the soundtrack loops indefinitely.
“Courtesy,”

The first level, “Hexagon,” painfully filed under the difficulty of Hard. You can hear where one song would end and the other begins, reaching a climatic turn where it anticipates the shift by creeping upward in pitch halfway in.

“Otis”

A prime example of how music influences games. Otis’ level kicks you in the teeth as soon as you start with a hypnotic, blaring alarm, mirroring the berserk amount of maneuvering required. This stimulating nightclub tune packs in the aptly titled level of Hexagoner. One of the two opening layouts tests your ability of reflexes and hand-eye coordination seen tens of seconds later. The longer you survive, tone draws back a bit to later seize your patience and heart once more.

 “Focus”

Definitely the, (emphasis on “the”) track commences the chiptune rave encapsulating the soundtrack. The borderline schizophrenic sounds popping and attacking, “Focus” phases in and out of multiple melodies, while retaining its bouncy sequence of rhythm.

“Torpedo”

Not necessarily a part of the Super Hexagon soundtrack, well, not at all. Torpedo could easily swap out one of the three tracks mentioned before. The standout track from the free album of “Fragments,” struts out the door with a spiraling, pungent beat hitting every time you say one thousand and builds off it. Where one could complain, the immense brevity of the past tracks cries out for extended plays and that’s where Torpedo’s six-minute slower, yet equally danceable sound comes in.

Chipzel’s Gameboy meets modern mixing is priced around $3 on bandcamp, a popular venue for many game composers, and totally worth the dollars to euros conversion.

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