A first look at Deqaf Studio's game will make you wonder why such a cute little ball of fluffy light and relaxing music would deserve the name Hellspin. After playing for a few minutes you'll have your answer, and perhaps less hair on your head than when you started. The goal is simple: get your cute little butt into the spinning vortex of doom that leads to the next level. The controls... well, not so much and that is where the skill is involved. Each level has a different set up, and while it looks basic, the controls are where the difficulty begins. Always in a constant forward motion, your control only lies in rotating. Depending on where your mouse is in comparison to the middle of the board you'll turn either directions at different speeds. Clicking once lets you slow down time, but it is limited. Touching any walls is certain death.
While Hellspin calls itself a 'hard core' game it doesn't quite make it there. It's not quite a rage game either, as most high difficulty games are nowadays. The soothing music and calm color changing graphics make you feel at peace, even as you smash yourself on the same wall again and again. There are three stars on most of the levels to collect, but besides giving you a major feeling of accomplishment, and perhaps feed your inner masochist in your pursuit, they don't do anything else. If you're not a completionist, you'll probably find yourself ignoring them. The game however keeps track of how much of the 'slow-mo' ability you've used. You'll find your self wanting to repeat levels to avoid using this ability as little as possible. Even though it is on the lower end of the high difficulty spectrum it's still a game that should have had a death counter and will keep you busy for a good long while.
I like the experimentation that's going on with control schemes. Even though I'm a trackpad user, a group this type of scheme isn't very charitable to, I really like the idea of a more passive mouse scheme that has as much to do with skill and reflexes as it does luck. I'm not even annoyed by the lack of control over movement speed of the main character (a term I use loosely, as there is no characterization, or indeed anything to make us believe that this is a living being); usually I am incredibly annoyed by top-down racing, or other control schemes that cause the awkward momentum/vector based movement, rather than in relation to the player's perspective. In this case, I found it more fun because of the use of the mouse rather than the use of keys.
That being said, neither the gameplay nor other elements of games (like the absentee plot) seem to necessitate this scheme. As it is, it just seems like a pointlessly annoying scheme put there for the difficulty and nothing else. That's only okay in games like IWBTG, which incorporates multiple elements for the difficulty it achieves. This game on the other hand, relies on a hatred of trackpad users.
In summary, if you like games that test reflexes with little else in the veins of gameplay, immersion, soundtrack (dull repetition is in style apparently) and art style then this is your game. For everyone else, it's a nice little timewaster, but there doesn't seem much point to completion except for the vacuous sense of pointless accomplishment.
OK, that is sick. The controls actually work pretty well... by which I mean they do exactly what the game says they will, but that is pretty fiendishly difficult to learn to control precisely. I played it with a trackpad, and agree with jackal.lewis that there is a certain amount of trackpad hate involved, although not as much as in some of the wall-avoidance games. This would probably make a great iPad game, as you could use one finger to control the character.