Hooky Crook – Simple Swinging Done Smartly

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Hooky Crook is a vine swinging platforming game about a cat with a serious desire for gems.

In Hooky Crook, you control a very literal cat burglar on the hunt for the iridescent green gem at the end of the level. Unfortunately, the floor is laden with traps and alarms that will reveal you.

So, to escape the detection of the assumingly malevolent enemy, you need to swing from swinging point to swinging point, all to make sure you land on the gem.

Hooky Crook is a fairly simple game in its mechanics; everyone’s played vine swingers in some form or another. However, Hooky Crook does something pretty interesting with its design – it knows exactly what it is and what it wants you to do.

In many games of this type, you need to swing from section to section to either outrun something or reach a specific goal, and Hooky Crook is no different. However, the level design and pacing of the game makes the player feel like they have an agency that other games just don’t give the player.

The swinging points are predefined, but your choice of which points to use is entirely yours. You might find yourself using every single point as a swinging base, or you might just skip all of them except one, allowing you to make some crazily long and clutch swings that perfectly land you on the gem.

Your placement of swings is incredibly important; as it would appear that your cat has no legs.

Once you hit a platform that doesn’t contain lasers or other deadly things, you’re completely helpless, forced to roll depressingly until you either (hopefully) hit the target Gem or, more likely, roll to a complete stop and realize the errors of your ways.

As the levels progress, the amount of obstacles gets increased, but the difficulty doesn’t necessarily increase. The same skill is needed in all the levels to reach the objective, it’s just that you might be forced to adapt your style on the fly.

New opbstacles, new ways to obfuscate your gemstone goal or just generally more things to avoid bring the skill curve of the game upwards, but it does so as a very gradual rate.

Instead of punishing you continuously, Hooky Crook is very quick and painless to get through. If you fail a level, it’s because you failed it due to a mistake, something which you won’t do twice in a row.

You’ll either succeed with some quick thinking, or you’ll learn the pattern for the next time you go through it.

Hooky Crook is a very simple game that doesn’t have a whole lot going on gameplay-wise, but it’s a game that fundamentally understands what it wants you to do, and knows really well how it’s going to get you to enjoy it.

Hooky Crook is fun, simple and easily understandable, with a difficulty curve that is somehow a straight line, rather than an irritating bell curve like most games.

[review pros=”Excellent understanding of what the player enjoys. Lots of different options to work through the level.” cons=”The lack of gameplay variation can get frustrating. You’ll sometimes miss your swing point, but it’ll really feel like you should’ve got it.” score=9]

Official Trailer

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