The Lost Reviews – Hook

19 05 2016

HOOK (Rainbow Train - 2005)

I have always loved those puzzles where you had to make a route from one side to another. You know the sort of thing, where you might have to direct a flow of water from the tank to the tap, but there are obstacles in the way; like those hacking puzzles in Bioshock. I just love the technical aspects of such puzzles plus the stress of getting it right first time (plus the fun of getting it wrong…on occasion). Well Hook is sort of like those puzzles, except instead of building a route; you need to completely demolish it.

HOOK 3

Hook is a 2D puzzle game where you have to click on switches, clear routes and send messages, all for the purpose of clearing the entire level of obstacles. Sound confusing, well it is. To play the game all you need is your mouse, and in turn you will be clicking on a black button to send a message to remove some sticks from a big maze of sticks. Some sticks though are blocking others and you will need to remove those ones first to remove the others. Once all the sticks in a level have been removed, the level is complete and you progress onto the next one. It’s sort of a mix between Pick up Sticks, and Kerplunk. As the game progresses, further little bits are added to increase game difficulty, ranging from circles that need turning to connect routes to one another, as well as wireless/Wi-Fi like messages to remote routes not connected to the main puzzle.

In terms of the game’s difficulty, the first few levels are all pretty easy, but by the end they are extremely complex. To begin with you don’t need to worry about making mistakes. Eventually though lives are added. Once all your lives are depleted, you have to start the level all over again. Hook’s graphics are simple yet effective. It’s a white background with dark greyish lines showing the routes and sticks. Nice and simple, but not at all confusing. Great work has been made to make them look nice and crisp and not jittery or block like. It’s a smooth looking game, and the animations are just as smooth. Even little things like sticks overlapping each other, to the sending and receiving of signals are nicely made. Hook does not really have a soundtrack as such; it’s just the sound of blowing wind. It’s like imagining yourself at the O.K. Corral. This lack of music though is nothing too bad, as the lack of sound really does help you to concentrate on what is happening. It’s not exactly peaceful though, as the level of silence and the occasional gust of wind can really increase the tension and frustration, the good kind.

HOOK 1

The only real problem I have with this game is that it’s a bit quick. The first few levels are nice and easy, but it takes a while for the levels to get harder, which is what you want. It’s a puzzle game; it’s meant to be tricky. It’s only really into the second half of all levels that it gets any trickier. These levels take more of your time to play, but the level of difficulty, gameplay, not forgetting the frustration, is what you want in a puzzle game. But as soon as you finally get these levels, the game is nearly over, and once you get the hang of everything, that’s it the game is over. All levels are completed. I have no desire to replay this game either. It was fun; it could just have been longer. The lives system is fun, but a higher level of consequence would have been nice too.

HOOK 4

Hook is an addictive game, and you will find yourself unable to do or think of anything else other than play Hook continuously until you have finished. It lacks achievement though; there is no real reward for playing a game that’s just too easy and too quick. At best, it’s a casual little game to play when you have a lunch break. On the other hand if you have a whole day off; I would suggest playing Borderlands instead, at least there is more to do in Borderlands, and it’s longer.

HOOK 2

GENEPOOL





The Steam Issue

25 03 2015

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

Ok, I have had my problems with Steam in the past, but most of those old ones are more or less resolved right now. Anyway, most of them came as a result of Supreme Commander 2. No, my latest issue with Steam is trying to decide what to play. I now have a large collection of games on Steam but choosing what to play is becoming something of a problem, but luckily the reasoning behind it is rather simple to explain. Still rather hard to solve.

Payday 2

The issue is not knowing whether or not my laptop will be able to play them or not. Since putting Steam on this laptop, most of the games I have played have not had much of an issue in terms of the power needed to play them. But more and more games that I have recently acquired require an element more power and so while they are easy to install, their gameplay is a little lacklustre. A couple of examples include Brütal Legend and Payday 2. I really like the first Payday, I think it’s absolutely terrific and offers a little more in multiplayer terms than Left 4 Dead 2. When I played Payday 2 however, it was apocalyptically slow and the only way I could make it any quicker was to drastically reduce every setting, and that still wasn’t enough. As for Brütal Legend, while I have previously played it on the PS3, on the PC it took time from the press of a button to the action being committed. So in the driving scenes this became particularly annoying. Due to these issues I have begun to get a little put off before putting titles on the Laptop due to the unsure-ity of whether or not they will be playable.

Skulls of the Shogun

More recently I have been playing a lot of mini games, things I can enjoy briefly while taking a break. Games include; Kingdom Rush, Skulls of the Shogun and One Finger Death Punch. But I still want to play games that are big and contain stories. Games that are mostly (First Person is preferable) action orientated but more importantly involve stories. Something to get into and involved with. The 2 games that stand out the most in this are is the Borderlands games, of which I have played 1 and 2. I love those games, but I don’t want to just continually play them over and over again when I have already done them. I need a touch of Variety. More recently I played The Wolf Among Us which I enjoyed so much, it is questioning me whether or not it is my favourite game.

The Wolf Among Us

I do have a PC upstairs which was purchased to be a gaming computer, but there is a list of problems that are just growing with that one. More recently I used it to play GOG.com games as I found that it was hard to play both a GOG.com game on my Laptop and have Steam installed games too. So I use the PC for GOG.com Games. This is also a better option for it too as the Wi-Fi signal is rather weak upstairs, whereas the laptop serves as a better platform for some PC gaming on Steam, such as Co-op. Other issues with the PC are that it is getting rather old and due to my choice of operating system (Vista) for when I bought it in 2007, several online features are being lost. For instance, I can’t have the next version of Internet Explorer on it, so I can’t use Facebook, and now neither can I access my GOG.com Profile. So an upgrade or a replacement is probably due, but I don’t have the money. However the machine still allows me to watch my; Region 1, DVD Coding, collection of Godzilla Films (due to them not being released in the UK, almost at all). In an ideal world I would replace it with something much more powerful and then have a wired internet connection to produce top quality gameplay play back. But as said, I don’t have the money to do so.

GOG.com Logo

Back to the steam issue, I have a lot of games I want to play, but am in fear of they’ll work or not. Recently I did try to play Metro 2033, but after the initial install, it just wouldn’t play, can’t remember why now. It pretty much refused to just start and showed me a box with a red X in it. Other games I have a worry for include Dead Island because it looks too graphically powered, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or sometimes simply referred to as KOTOR) but mainly because it’s for an old OS, Saints Row: The Third, because I played Co-op with my brother and it jittered a lot, but that could be an internet connection issue (also I don’t do well controlling things in third person), Just Cause 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Risen (mostly because I don’t know what it’s about, the same has to go to Sacred 2 and Sacred Citadel) and the BioShock games (however at time of writing, I was installing 1, which I had also played on PS3). It has become something of fear and disappointment to me as I don’t know If I can play these games or not, and if when I buy something on Steam, I’ll be able to play it or not.

BioShock

Eventually I am just going to have to buck up and try it when I get games because I can’t necessarily let this thing corrode whether or not I want to play something. I have had some recent help from friends who have said which games should be playable or not, so I suppose I should just get on with it really. Or I could just go back to having GOG.com games on my Laptop again. I may finally be able to play a proper online game of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds in that case.

Borderlands 2

GENEPOOL (So far, Bioshock is working).








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