So, you are thinking “Fun Grammar Puzzles!” awww, yizzzz.
Nope. Hyphen is nothing like that; the game’s name comes directly from the tool used for puzzle solving: a single bar that spins unstoppable. That’s it. Incredibly, the game is enjoyable even when super frustrating.
The idea, as the whole bunch of this type of games similar to casual but at the same time universes apart, is to make you blow some steam. It will frustrate you and with reason.
The concept is straight forward simple. You, the Hyphen (or spinning bar), have to reach the end of the level consisting in a neon lighted tunnel spiced with geometrical obstacles that could be stationary or mobile. The plain it sounds, the harder it gets. And it gets harder.
There’s nothing so extensive to talk about Hyphen as a whole.
The visuals work clear as they are. A black background, a neon green colored tunnel, the Hyphen-bar-thingy (also neon green except when you are close to the walls when it turns red), and nothing more.
Every aspect of the game makes you focus on the puzzle. The bar is spinning, the Shift Key slows the movement and helps the player to try calculating “Is this little fucker going through?” It might. If it passes, you can press the Space Bar and display a checkpoint (at the beginning you get three, but it modifies) because chances to live ahead are slim and you don’t want to get through the map all over again.
The music combines well with the visual aspect. Techno/Dance or some kind of music able to create and perform with MIDI software by Andrew Lloyd, a musician that composed the soundtrack of “ReversE”” a game with a lot of similarities with Hyphen. The music it’s ok. Not really my style but its performed played and I can’t deny that the game asks for that in a way. Hyphen yells “Woooohoooo” in your face.
The gameplay of Hyphen is adjusted. Like every other puzzle that drives you to madness, controls, even when they are minimal, are the core of the game. You need to get the bar through the obstacles without the slightest touch. The use of the arrows feels exactly like managing uranium near the Pentagon.
It’s a hard piece of game. Thirty fucking six levels of pure awful difficulty. So youknow, lots of fun duuuude.
“Farspace” is an England base Game Studio that’s making his first steps on this wild jungle Videogame industry turn into. By pure luck (or by the unaware helping hand of Ubisoft-ish big studios) the Indie scene is in the centre of the spotlight.
Platforms like Steam, or Humble Bundle and many more are giving a huge hand to this devs based of the success of indie games like Fez or Braid, and even the ones that seem much more minimalist, like Hyphen. Marc McCann and Robert Blackburn are the thinking heads and main programmers of the studio.
They both develop a game they can be proud of. Let’s hope they keep improving. As a tiny critic, I believe that games this genre should have a lot more stages than Hyphen has, even when they have unlockable mini-games. They should be adding new levels every week and (please please pleeeeease) put down the “Death-Counter”. I already know I’m losing like a bitch.
Anyway, just cosmetics. The game is fine like it is and it costs the same as Canyon Capers, $ 7,99 on Steam. Don’t think it twice, Hyphen is a winner.