Octomaze: Early Access First Impressions
A tentacle twist that leaves more to be desired with this fun game!
Earlier today, I was approached by an indie game company overseas via Twitter. They politely asked me to try their latest title, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Octagon Game Studio is the author of the app titled Octomaze, which takes a unique spin on the classic "Snake" concept. Each stage starts with a hole where the tentacle sprouts out from and depending on the stage, you collect coins or press buttons.
I admit I have only gotten to stage 8, but my reasoning will be clear by the end of this article. The first couple of stages introduce you to the game and its core mechanics. I found it easiest to go at a slow pace and make sure the tentacle follows your finger; otherwise, you could end up leaving it behind by mistake. However, at this point, it is not an issue. By the time you reach stage 4, you are introduced to your first enemies and buttons. The first enemies you encounter are sleeping, so simply stay away from them, and you will be fine. The buttons activate when the tentacle presses them and usually opens a passageway of some kind. Once you reach stages 5 and 6, the game begins to take a more interesting turn.
One stage consisted of nothing more than a straight line from a hole to a button. You can start your tentacle from any hole in the stage, which I thought was kind of interesting. This is also where they introduce a second type of enemy, one who periodically releases a harmful gas you have to stay away from. And let me just say, as a game designer, I am so happy for that green radius square. These new stages were interesting and fun, but nothing I couldn’t handle. That was, of course, until I got to stage 8.
This is how they designed stage 8. You have a limited amount of time to press two buttons and collect a coin from either side before the enemy releases its toxic gas. This, in theory, should be easy. However, the delay I mentioned when pressing the screenplays way too much of a factor here. I constantly died because I would start running my finger along, but the tentacle would still be lagging behind.
Now, I do not know when the app will be ready for a full release, although you can pre-order OctoMaze for $3.49 in the Google App store. And this was a fun app for the short amount of time I played it. My only suggestion would be to improve the tentacle's speed, but not too fast. We gamers do enjoy a challenge.