Capsule Review: Hook

A short and simple puzzle game with a minimalist aesthetic. Buttons are connected to lines and pressing the button retracts the line and removes it from the screen - but the lines often overlap or otherwise prevent each other from retracting. They must be retracted in the correct order to clear the puzzle, roughly analogous to pick-up sticks.

There are fifty puzzles in total, gradually increasing in size and complexity. Later puzzles also introduce a couple of new mechanics, but the game never becomes particularly deep. It’s always just a matter of finding the line or lines that can currently be retracted, tracing back to the right button (and in later levels, turning connectors to ensure the button won’t also trigger lines that can’t be retracted yet), hitting the button, and repeating until the puzzle is cleared.

That simplicity along with the gentle soundtrack means the game is more of a meditative tool than a puzzler. It’s more relaxing than challenging, with the satisfaction coming not from figuring out a difficult solution but from decluttering the screen. Given this, it’s a little unfortunate that the game punishes mistakes - if you attempt a few incorrect retractions, the current puzzle will restart completely. I assume this was intended to prevent players from brute-forcing the puzzles, but it feels like a misguided thing to do in a game that isn’t supposed to be hard.

It won’t take long for most players to complete the game, and it won’t do much to expand your mind along the way. But it can be a relaxing diversion for those of us who enjoy tidying up.

I Stopped Playing When: I completed the game by finishing all fifty puzzles.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.