Developer: Fixpoint Productions
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Pivvot explores the dynamic seen in a game like Super Hexagon: fast-paced rotation survival action that’s based on recognizing patterns and smart escape plans. But unlike that game, a more chill pace and a greater focus on educating the player makes this one shine and stand on its own.

Pivvot-04Players control a ball that pivots around a point that’s traveling down a winding path. The goal is to spin the ball around obstacles, learning how to tackle the various challenges that they present, from either fast reflexes to perhaps even just knowing proper placement of the ball – some obstacles require no movement whatsoever! Additional challenge comes from the fact that the path is winding, constantly making the position of the ball unclear. Spatial awareness is a key strength here.

While the Voyage modes that throw new sets of obstacles at players and serve as the progression side of the game can feel a bit repetitive after a while thanks to making players repeat surviving each obstacle as they see it for the first time, there’s a good reason for the repetition: this is about learning. Beating it in to the player that they need to know how to beat these obstacles, that they need to have a consistent plan for when they come up again later on, either randomly or in the fixed endless modes. In fact, I was a bit disappointed that the endless modes, especially Expert, loop around before 100 seconds are up. This was done to make scoring fair, but I’d still like to see an experimentation with randomized obstacle orders for variety, at least after ‘beating’ the mode at 100 seconds.

Pivvot-06Of course, then there’s Berzerk mode where it all pretty much goes to hell. This isn’t so much about learning patterns as it is just frantically trying to survive. And even then, there’s little things that teach the player what they should look for and how to react if they see it coming. Speedy reactions are necessary, but smarter reactions can make for longer times!

However, it’s the intelligence at the core of Pivvot, the fact that the game wants the player to learn how to succeed at its challenges, that makes it so satisfying to play. The music is definitely headphones-worthy too, with nifty tricks like a high-pass filter used for the “purgatory” sections that teach players about new obstacles. Plus, iCloud support! The Voyage modes are lengthy and challenging, the Endless modes add extra value, but it’s Berzerk that will keep me coming back for more. Check this out.

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