There is a lovely tier of minimalistic puzzle game on Steam that I’ve fallen head over heels for. It’s the £1.69-ish tier. These puzzle games have clean, simple graphics and a clever gameplay hook (boom boom) give you a couple of hours of fun. Handmade levels are celebrated above randomised levels and the idea is to give a succinct but memorable experience. Hook 2 is my new favourite entry into this subgenre.
Hook 2 is a simple deconstruction game. You are presented with a collection of hooks that are interlocked and each hook is attached to a circular trigger. You need to press the triggers in order to retract the hooks in the right order to untangle the mesh of hooks without one catching another. Doing so is failure and so you need to observe what can be pulled free. Initially, like the original Hook, this game starts off as a 2D puzzle game but after its first selection of levels, it pulls a very clever “ah-ha” moment but moving into a rotatable 3D space.
Suddenly hooks are twisting around like cubic electric circuits. You’ll rotate around the level with your mouse and work out what needs to be retracted first. It totally elevates the game and makes you think as more gameplay elements are added in. You’ll soon have circuit breakers to twist to join or disconnect the retractable lines. Then you’ll need to rotate the levels around to connect jump cables to turn on the retractable hooks. Right at the end of the game circuits are then combined with symbols so multiple circuits are in play, turning on and off the current to retract certain hooks. The game constantly changes up what the challenge is without ever becoming obtuse. Indeed, its a game you can clear in around two hours if you stay logical.
Hook 2 does exactly what I wanted with clever puzzles, easy controls, a dark mode for night time puzzling, an ambient wind soundtrack and it feels like a genuine step forward from its original. This isn’t more of the same, which could have been easy to push out like shovelware. Solo developer Maciej Targoni went above and beyond here and it really shows. A fine example of budget gaming made to near perfection.
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