Hook is a very simple puzzle game that requires you to retract all of the lines in order to complete a level. However, this is easier said than done. The lines must be retracted in specific orders as one line’s path may be blocked by another. The game starts off easy, but it quickly becomes a head-scratching brain-twister as the levels become much more complex.
The premise of Hook is quite simple on paper, but it quickly becomes very challenging in a fantastic way. The gameplay is simple and easy for absolutely anyone to pick up and like any good puzzle game, it requires more thinking than doing.
At first, you’ll question how the game can possibly make mind bending puzzles, but the ingenuity of the puzzle design in Hook is absolutely incredible. New mechanics get implemented throughout the game, mixing things up and making you question each and every approach.
Going from one puzzle to the next is immensely satisfying. Not only does the satisfaction come from solving a puzzle, but also from the swiftness of proceeding from one level to the next. Hook flows with fantastic pace, making it an absolute joy to play through.
I would definitely recommend playing Hook in handheld mode as whilst the game can definitely be played with a controller, it is a much smoother experience with its touch controls. My advice: detach the Joy-Cons and just play with the Switch tablet – simple.
One thing that I absolutely loved about this game is the fact that there are no menus, just quick, simple and straight to the gameplay. However, it does make simple actions – such as replaying old levels – a puzzle in itself.
Whilst a little bit of leeway can be given considering the simplistic scope of the game, implementing some HD Rumble would have been nice, especially with the retraction of the lines. However as mentioned before, it’s probably best to play Hook without the Joy-Cons.
Graphics / Art Direction
From the screenshots, it’s not hard to see that Rainbow Train didn’t want to put much focus into the art direction, which I both saw as a positive and a negative.
The positives are that this makes it easy for the player to see what’s going on. It also reinforces that simplistic tone that Rainbow Train were going for.
However on the negative front, it does get very boring to look at for long periods of time. Hook is definitely a game to play in short bursts and if the gameplay doesn’t cement that, then the art direction will.
Music / Sound Design
The music in Hook is incredibly simple, which comes as no surprise. Each level is complimented by ambient sounds that you may expect to hear in when meditating. Slight touches on the piano, the sound of wind and calming tones make Hook a pleasant and calming experience to play through.
There is also something satisfying about the sounds that come from the action of clicking a button and retracting a line. It’s difficult to explain, it just sounds and feels nice.
Final Score: 84%
In its simplicity, Hook achieves everything that it sets out to do. Many developers today may try to implement as many features into a game as possible, but a lot can be said about maintaining simplicity. For US$1.99, Hook may be a game that many people gloss over, but I believe that’s a crying shame!