Terry Cavanagh's dastardly difficult mobile classic Super Hexagon has been ported to the Commodore 64 via indie developers Paul Koller and Mikkel Hastrup as part of RGCD's C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition.
So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having four pints at lunchtime then trying not to be sick while racing round Poundland in search of a last minute Secret Santa present for someone about whom they know nothing except name and gender. And at least one of those is in doubt. Ho ho ho!
Terry Cavanagh's a bastard. A lovable, super-talented and quite brilliant man, but a bastard nevertheless. Best known for VVVVVV, the 2010 platformer that latterly made it to Nintendo's 3DS, he's become associated with games with bite, games that present a stark challenge where it's all about beating the game or being plain beaten. Play something like VVVVVV and it's dominate or be dominated.
Cavanagh's games are more than just hard, though. They're also incredibly smart, something that's easy to lose sight of when caught up in the warming wash of a pitch-perfect retro aesthetic. Beneath the brightly coloured pixels and the insistent chip-tune music lies a finely tuned design sensibility.
In Super Hexagon, the iOS outing that arrived late last week, it's distilled down to an intoxicating essence, a short, sharp swig of action that's as thrilling as it can be trying. You control a small triangle, orbiting a rotating hexagon that's bombarded with waves of lines. Trying to describe it any further is like trying to give a synopsis of a Norman McLaren film, but here goes: what follows is a kaleidoscopic maze of death, played out in harmony to an upbeat and infectious soundtrack from Chipzel.