Hocus [official site] translates the impossible shapes of late artist MC Escher into a perspective-twisting puzzle game. Think Back To Bed sans any sense of narrative, with explicit puzzle-focus. In theory, the premise is simple: guide the red cube across a grey shape tracks to the red goal, before moving onto the next level. In practice, the mind-bending, aspect-altering illusions of each layout makes this easier said than done. Hocus began life on mobile devices but has now reached Steam.
Escher, you may or may not know, once snubbed the Rolling Stones at the height of their fame after they asked him to design one of their album covers. Apparently he didn’t appreciate Mick Jagger addressing him in first name terms. He’s been dead for quite some time now – Escher, not Jagger – but I like to think he’d have been on board with video games borrowing from his ideas. Video games are better than the Rolling Stones. Here’s Hocus in motion:
Much like the backwards flowing rivers and gravity-defying stairwells of Escher’s famous prints, Hocus’ anti-physics takes a bit of getting used to. On more than a few occasions I felt like I was beginning to get used to its ways, before a significantly more taxing level presented itself that stopped me in my tracks.
It should be noted that Hocus is an obvious mobile port and makes little attempt to hide it – it’s designed to be played in bite-sized runs and the display is clearly best-suited to the vertical perspective of phones – but this fact is reflected in its price. Which is £1.49 on Steam, including a 25% discount until November 25.