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Hook: A Quietly Satisfying Mini Puzzler

Hook

Sometimes you need a puzzle game that’s Stephen’s Sausage Roll levels of difficulty – i.e. every completed grill is a hard fought mental victory you feel deserves some kind of acknowledgement in the local paper and maybe a parade. But sometimes you want a puzzle that gently nudges at your brain and only occasionally demands you step back and develop and actual strategy. Hook [official site] is the latter for me right now.

It’s not a new game by any means. It was released back in early 2015 but I’d missed it and it popped onto my radar after Alice started talking about the developer’s other game, Klocki. The idea is that each level gives you this abstracted circuit board-looking diagram. There are lines and connecting points and overlapping straight and hooked pins. When you press the big black circles they activate the circuit board and retract any of the pins which are connected at the time. The catch is that the pins are layered so trying to activate them out of order will mean tugging ineffectually at pins whose removal is blocked by others.

I’d describe it as zen circuit board kerplunk and across the fifty levels I’ve played I sort of zone out, concentrating on lines and connections. You can try to remove multiple pins with a button press if you’re feeling flash or you can go one by one. The more you solve the clearer the board gets as extraneous circuitry is removed. I’ve only had one situation where I’d made the puzzle impossible by removing something vital to another circuit.

It’s not taxing, and I know it’s a short experience but it has so far been a quietly satisfying thing and that is valuable to me. It’s £0.79/0,99€/$0.99 on Steam. You can also play an early prototype in your browser on Kongregate.

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Philippa Warr

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