Game Review: Hook

Hook and loop.

Developer: Maciej Targoni , Wojciech Wasiak
Publisher: Rainbow Train
Platforms: Microsoft Windows (reviewed), OS X, Steam OS, Linux
Available on: Steam

I don’t consider myself a particularly smart person. Which is obviously why I greatly enjoy puzzle games, because they fill me with a sense of intelligence after overcoming certain particularly difficult puzzles. It sort of gives me the feeling that I’m smarter than whoever came up with these challenges in the first place. And I know that this is a very inaccurate representation of people who make puzzle games, because I realize that coming up with these difficult brainteasers in the first place requires an intellect far greater than mine in the first place.

One of my favorite ways to interact with puzzles is if they require spatial awareness. The goal of each level in Hook is to untangle the mess of connections you see before you. But since it’s a plain 2D affair, it’s more reminiscent of electrical circuit diagrams than anything else. And it also works quite the same way. You have the equivalent of logic gates available to you in order to steer the “electricity” from your button to the appropriate elements. And since all the elements are interlocked in some way, shape or form, you have to keep track which piece has to be removed next. One wrong move, one incorrect decision means that you’ll be trying to remove more than just that one hook you had it out for and send you frantically going over all of your connections again.

Don’t be fooled by the deceptively simple design of the title, it does have quite a few hard puzzles to solve. Unfortunately, to get to them, you’ll be treated to around 30 to 40 levels of mostly very simple puzzles and tutorials that you’ll breeze through without much stopping you. But the final 10 levels – and yes, the game contains a total of 50 levels – can test your patience quite a bit and require a lot of preparatory work, before you even touch one single logic gate.

It’s also unfortunate that the game is completely devoid of an options menu. There isn’t much to complain about the performance that would require an extensive selection of settings, but basic features like resolution and sound options would’ve been much appreciated.

If the price were any higher than what the developers are currently asking for – which, for the record, is $1 – I’d probably have more qualms over recommending this short little title, but as it stands, you could spend that amount on a lot of worse entertainment that doesn’t tickle your brain to the extent Hook does. So yeah, I’m willing to give this short little game a recommendation, because it’s flawlessly executed, elegant and simple in design, visually and aurally pleasing and doesn’t require a big investment for the privilege. The only real downside is that I would’ve liked some more levels. But in the end, isn’t that really a compliment if you want more of the same out of a title?

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