Point-&-click adventures have held many, many good memories for me, whether it was the satisfaction of getting past that goat in Broken Sword, or enjoying the dialogue present in Grim Fandango. Point-&-click geames have, however, taken a back seat in recent years. Hoodwink is the latest entry into my beloved genre that attempts to replicate the fun adventure these games should produce.
You play Michael Bezzle, a lad who’s on his way to propose to his girlfriend with a ring that was found under mysterious circumstances. You inhabit a dystopian world which is governed by a large corporation. Unfortunately for Michael, you end up getting into a bit of bother with this large corporation. It’s an interesting setting to begin with; there are talking robots & cockroaches that play to national stereotypes. You would hope that this creativity with the story telling would hopefully filter through to the rest of Hoodwink.
At the start you must find the engagement ring. You are required to light a cigar which sets fire to a bin thus activating an extractor fan. The fan blows away some documents which show where the ring is. This kind of illogical puzzle solving confuses matters and doesn’t let the player apply any thinking in regards to finding a solution. It’s fine thinking outside of the box, but this is taking it too far. You’ll find that several of the puzzles follow this illogical course which means you’ll spend a lot of your time getting frustrated with Hoodwink.
You’ll notice the beautifully crafted cel-shaded graphics from the start. However, this seems to be the only positive thing to say about Hoodwink unfortunately. The cel-shaded graphics lead to a charming & unique atmosphere but you’ll soon come to realise that this hides several issues which ultimately lead to a disappointing experience. The whole process of getting from A to B is far too frustrating. The illogical puzzles and poor control mechanism just becomes annoying after only a few minutes. The pretty graphics fail to hide the fact that Hoodwink suffers from poor level design and implementation. You’ll curse the number of occasions you find yourself getting confused in regards to where you have to go or what you have to do next. The backgrounds give the impression there are areas you are unable to pass through but you can’t, and the hint system is simply not very helpful.
Hoodwink is also a very short game, but to be fair even if the game was any longer you couldn’t forgive the issues you would have experienced. The dialogue, to be fair to Hoodwink, is above average, whilst the animation is quite good. The noir music helps set the scene, it’s just a shame the rest of Hoodwink reduces the atmosphere to such an extent that you actually become glad when Hoodwink ends.
Hoodwink is a stylish and sophisticated looking point-&-click adventure which unfortunately fails to deliver an involving or interesting experience. You find yourself navigating through a very short and limited world which becomes more frustrating as you attempt to get through Hoodwink. There are some good ideas here, but they are poorly implemented which is a shame because there is some potential within that could be expanded upon. There are better point-&-click adventures out there, and most have more than Hoodwink has to offer. So if you do have an hour spare you may want to try it, but it’ll be very unlikely that you’ll buy.
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