Manipulate hooks, wheels, and sliders in increasingly complex entanglements in Flex hooks!
A review copy of Flex hooks was provided for this review. No compensation was involved and all thoughts are my own.
Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 30 minutes
Cost: 0.99 USD
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Flex hooks is a minimalist puzzle game where players manipulate pieces to clear a path for bolts of energy. Shooting bolts to every receptacle is required to complete each level, often with multiple steps involved. The primary mechanic is for players to slide and rotate hooks or other metallic objects. These hooks have collision with each other, so shuffling them around in the correct order is key. Throughout the game new hook types and manipulations are introduced, increasing the complexity and allowing for unique level strategies. Flex Hook uses no words to describe new mechanics to players and instead relies on simple tutorial-esque levels so players can discover how parts move on their own.
Flex hooks’ biggest weakness is how short it is. Despite having 50 levels, I was able to complete the game in about 30 minutes. I definitely don’t think it wore out its appeal either, as it introduced lots of interesting interactive pieces during that time that I think could’ve been used to create many more unique levels. Given the price point though, I don’t think the briefness is a big issue. However, it comes in shorter than similar games by Thedox Games, such as Turn on the light (~50 minutes) and Turn on all the lights (~40 minutes).
Flex hooks has a very clean minimalist graphical style which I quite enjoy. This fits well with its relaxing background music. The mix of slow music and dark colors makes it particularly fitting for relaxing and clearing the mind before bed. One detail I really liked was animation and sound effect for pieces colliding. When the player tries to move a piece through another one, which isn’t allowed, the animates the collision and shake of the pieces with an appropriate sound effect. It sounds simple, but compared to other games that might just play a “not allowed” sound or do nothing at all, I felt it made the pieces feel much more real and helped with thinking about how to manipulate them without collisions. However, one thing that felt awkward was when pieces went partially off-screen. With the exception of one level where this was very intentional, pieces moving off-screen during manipulation felt disorientating to me.
Overall, I found Flex hooks to be a short but satisfying game. I enjoyed the puzzles and the increasing complexity and uniqueness of levels. The graphics were clean, but well animated and worked well with the soundtrack, though I’d have preferred all the pieces to have stayed on the screen. I recommend Flex hooks to fans of minimalist puzzle games, particularly if they’ve enjoyed other games by Thedox Games.