Version Reviewed: 1.0.25
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The Super Hexagon formula is a very difficult one to nail, as Boson X shows. It requires a keen balance between the challenge and the scoring, and that’s what this game unfortunately lacks.
The setup of the game is that players run inside a hexagonal prism, with the ability to switch lanes and/or jump across gaps. By tapping left or right on the screen, players can switch lanes, by tapping and holding they can switch and jump, and by tapping and holding with both thumbs, they can jump straight forward. Already, it’s a system that’s not quite simple.
Players are given six different levels where they must try to reach 100% charge (to simulate particle collision) by running over blue sections to charge up the meter which also serves as the score. Getting 100% unlocks new levels and makes the current one go at hyper speed.
Boson X has a great look to it, and while it’s not simple to the bone, it’s still easy enough to get into. But the key that keeps Boson X from being great is in that it’s just never really satisfying. Scoring is based not off of time, but off of running over blue sections of land. Getting more blue sections early on helps score more than survival does. In Super Hexagon and in Pivvot‘s endless modes, scoring by time is always the great equalizer: no matter how hard it got, as long as players stayed alive, they were being rewarded for it. Not so much in Boson X, where if there are no blue sections, there are no points.
As well, the game’s pacing being much slower hurts it, too: the moments of clearly-inevitable failure are just frustrating, when trying to make a jump that one knows won’t succeed, especially since there’s no way to maneuver in midair. Boson X gives the player time to ruminate and it can become quite easy to blame the game, not for the player to blame themselves. Granted, Impossible Road features plenty of moments where failure feels inevitable, but because the scoring system is clearly delineated, that every so often a gate will appear and not crossing it means zero points. Leaving the track might result in greater rewards, but it might not. The deal is clearly delineated from the start. Boson X‘s scoring and challenge being based on the randomness makes it unsatisfying.
And really, I think that’s what hurts Boson X. To do the Super Hexagon formula well, the game can throw difficult challenges at the player, but the challenges and rewards have to be fair. Because Boson X feels too much like it’s a slave to randomness, it fails at living up to the bar that other challenging survival games have set.
Tagged with: $2.99, Boson X, endless runner, Games, Ian McLarty, Super Hexagon, Survival