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If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s almost impossible not to see Pivvot as a response to the abstract dodge-or-die arcade design of Terry Cavanagh’s indie hit Super Hexagon. Both games require you to rotate a small on-screen point around randomized geometric shapes flying at you from changing directions. Both also use increasing speeds and nervy, thrumming soundtracks designed as much to distract as thrill. But where Hexagon’s tension and fear came from the panic of trying to guess (and keep pace with) its breakneck shape changes, the linear track Pivvot runs on changes its feel a bit.
Ever tried to rush your way through a busy street or a crowded room? That’s basically how Pivvot (from Polymer creator Whitaker Trebella) works. Like threading, turning, and shifting your body to weave through a throng of people, you need to rotate the centered on-screen marker in either direction to avoid incoming obstacles. The difference here is that since Pivvot moves on rails — even if its path and objects are randomized — you can see what’s coming up just ahead of you, theoretically giving you a second to plan your next move.
Depending on your affinity for Hexagon, this may be a positive or negative. Obstacle types are introduced gradually, using a mixture of previously unlocked shapes as well as new ones that appear after hitting the requisite number of checkpoints. Get hit in the standard Voyage mode, for example, and it’s back to the last milestone passed – a significant bump down from Hexagon’s daunting all-or-nothing approach. Pivvot’s difficulty also comes from its more varied selection of shapes, which requires more and more dynamic mid-obstacle rotation to survive.
It’s also worth noting that Pivvot’s 2D plane also significantly ups its stressful, which-way-do-I-rotate dyslexia quotient — the camera’s tendency to shift angles erratically makes it that much easier for your brain to incorrectly flip-flop rotation, resulting in at-times-frustrating failure. Not to worry — die-hard Hexagoners will find plenty more challenges unlockable ahead, such as the Expert Endless and Berserk modes. Just be prepared to build steam a little slower than you might’ve with Cavanagh's effort.
The bottom line. Pivvot is an interesting homage to Super Hexagon that proves simultaneously easier and more challenging.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Easy mechanics to learn (before challenge kicks in). Great aesthetic and catchy soundtrack.
Shifting camera angles make it easy to dyslexically rotate your marker the wrong direction. Segmented gameplay challenges can lead to frustrating repetition. Not quite as unforgiving/rewarding a challenge as its inspiration.