Jan 22, 2013
Terry Cavanagh’s extremely challenging arcade game Super Hexagon was recently released. Notably, it has an issue with the Nexus 7, thanks to a hardware issue where recognition of a released touch input is slightly delayed. For most games, this is not a problem. For Super Hexagon, where lightning reflexes are necessary, this is a big deal. Well, at least in theory it is. In practice, is it an issue? I decided to put some rudimentary, un-scientific statistics work to the test.
After a short warm-up session, I played 20 rounds on Hexagonest on the Nexus 7, then 20 rounds on the Motorola Xoom (which does not suffer from this touch-release issue), then another 20 on the Nexus 7, and another 20 on the Xoom.
Here’s what my results found:
Nexus 7, round 1: avg. 9.58 seconds, max 29.3
Xoom, round 1: avg. 12.26 seconds, max 37.1
Nexus 7, round 2: avg. 12.16 seconds, max 27.29
Xoom, round 2: avg. 12.21 seconds, max 49.29
So, it appears I may have still needed some warming up – Super Hexagon’s harder difficulties require hours of practice to figure out how the patterns work and how the player needs to spin to survive them, and some acclimation is necessary. It seems as if the difference over time evens out on each platform. While the difference is noticeable, especially to a veteran of the game like myself, it may not make a big difference.
Except that the problem is that my high scores were achieved on the Xoom. And I felt way more confident on the Xoom, because I could make small adjustments if necessary. And really, Super Hexagon is about those outliers, trying to get the high score. So while my own errors are dooming me no matter what, it’s possible that the touch-release issue is hurting me at those all-important outliers. But then again, the game at its higher difficulties is so challenging that adding another layer of difficulty is like spitting into the ocean.
My verdict, taking into consideration the quantifiable evidence with my anecdotal experiences? Veterans of the game and those actively seeking high scores should stay away from the Nexus 7 version, as the delays will be frustrating. Otherwise, for casual players, it doesn’t make a huge difference. It’s still a difficult game no matter what it’s being played on.