Tetragon Review

The premise of Tetragon is pretty solid; twisting the level in 90 degree increments, we must traverse to the end goal while also raising and lowering pillars to climb on or clear a path. The puzzles themselves are nicely laid out and can be quite head scratching at times, with some real forward thinking required to get the correct steps in the right order to proceed. The problem is when it comes to the actual controls – they are some of the most frustratingly unresponsive ones I’ve used in a long time, and almost completely ruined my experience with the game.

It’s when we start to interact that issues arise. Moving our character around is an exercise in frustration. Pressing the direction button seems to have a 50/50 chance of doing anything at all, and even when it does work there tends to be a very noticeable delay to things. Very rarely he’ll move almost instantly, but these were definitely the exception to the rule. More often I found myself holding the button for several seconds with nothing happening, and having to press it several times to get anything to happen.

This extends to moving the pillars and rotating the stages too; for the former we cycle through the available pillars with the bumpers before using the right stick to move them. Getting the highlight to show up which pillar we’re on is equally delayed, and we’re unable to move our character while moving the pillars. Rotating the stages fairs slightly better as our character locks to the dials when walking past them, allowing us to fairly quickly begin turning. He can only fall so far though, so we need to make sure we’ve prepared the new surface to catch him safely. Falling too far means a full reset of the stage, and all the unresponsive inputs that follow.

The final aspect of the UI that irks is getting to the goal itself. While he locks to the dials mentioned above, the goal is a different matter. It’s a small detail, but it’s placed in an awkward way, so much so that every single time my unresponsive character walked straight past into the wall next to it. It requires a small step back in the other direction before he’ll automatically go through the door. Why he couldn’t just auto-enter as he gets to it is annoying, and on top of the annoyances already just adds salt to the wound.

It’s a shame I’ve had to vent about the poor controls for so long, as the general idea is pretty good. Puzzle layouts are clever, and often require some logic that seems at first backwards but ends up working perfectly. There’s only ever one solution to the levels, but it does a good job of nailing that satisfying feeling of us having figured it out as if we were the only ones to do so. There’s also a sombre tale of a father looking for his son that provides some hook to proceed. But I just didn’t find it enough to persevere through the frustrations.

Conclusion

If you can put up with the unresponsive controls for long enough, there’s a decent puzzle title in Tetragon. It’s just a shame that almost every turn of the world is met with frustrating UI and inputs.

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This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox Series X/S. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Clever puzzle designs and mechanics
  • Decent enough visuals
Bad
  • Incredibly frustrating, unresponsive controls
  • Little UI details that add to the above grievance
4.3
Poor
Gameplay - 3
Graphics - 6
Audio - 4
Longevity - 4
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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