Game #31: Hocus (2015)

hocus-1Creator/director: Yunus Ayyildis
Language: none / English
Length: 50 levels plus, probably a maximum of 2 hours
Played on: 16 October 2015

This seems to be a pattern with me: every so often I’ll remember that my phone can play games, get bored, and download one to try late at night. Then I quickly realize that the games are often boring, or they try to foist paid-for upgrades or extra lives on you.

One of my biggest “successes” has actually been Bejeweled, but that’s a highly addictive game and perhaps dangerous for that reason. Another more recent game would lock up if you lost all your lives in the hope that you’d shell out for a lives pack. I quickly deleted it when I realized its sole purpose was to rip me off (Bejeweled, by comparison, encourages you to buy but doesn’t lock the game if you don’t: it’s more subtle at making its money but also more permissive of casual players who won’t spend anything).

But by contrast to those games, this game is a lot simpler, and doesn’t try to make you buy anything – in fact it doesn’t have in-app purchases as far as I can see. It also goes for a minimalist design, which is nice, but the dinky music got to me very quickly.

Each level is a kind of maze on an Escheresque impossible 3D structure. The little cube that you control will be stopped by any crossing bar in the way, and you have a choice of which of the three dimensions to travel in. It’s a cute little idea and it’s well-executed overall.

The downfall of the game is that although many levels are difficult at first glance, and sometimes you can’t see an effective way to get to the exit, I didn’t play a single level that I couldn’t “brute force” – that is, in almost all cases, I could just keep experimenting until I accidentally found the answers. I think this is perhaps a problem with any maze.

So that’s a shame. It’s probably not worth trying, if it comes to that. I’m sure there must be something better for iOS out there.

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