Twisty Hollow is the sort of game that could, on the surface, look like your run of the mill generic puzzle game. If you’ve been around mobile gaming for a while, it’s easy to be jaded by new puzzle games on the App Store because there are so many, and so few do anything original. But I gave Twisty Hollow a shot thanks to its charming art style, and I found a pretty neat game that’s worth a play for both casual and ‘core’ gamers alike.
The game is controlled by twisting around three circles, with the inner circle having the various people who do tasks, the middle circle having their tools, and the outer circle their materials. The Different people and creatures need tasks done are situated on the outside of the circle.
Initially, it’s a pretty simple matching process, but over time, different tools and materials create different products. As well, some products are created in a multi-step process, like a butcher using a knife to turn a cow into meat, then a chef using a knife to turn the meat into a burger. More people, tools, and materials get introduced over time. Completing as many jobs as possible within the time limit is the ultimate objective, with a three-star system for getting more points. Another great wrinkle that gets added in is the banker, who can upgrade money to get more points, which becomes another factor in the chaos to wrangle in!
The game does a great job at being casual-friendly while not feeling easy. It’s a hectic game, but the barriers for passing a level is low enough that it’s possible to advance with competent enough performance. This is a great way to balance things for both people who want to just enjoy the game and those seeking a legitimate challenge.
It’s also got a kind of Plants vs. Zombies style of progression; it’s perfect in the way that it steadily makes itself more complex over time, but in an iterative way that gradually gets the player to understand complex concepts. Twisty Hollow does much of the same, which is retroactively apparent with the butcher and the chef. There’s some confusion initially with the way that the chef and butcher are colored similarly and can interact with similar materials, but it turns out this is just practice for when that’s a regular thing. I was annoyed with it initially, but now? I appreciate that the game did that, and while it’s still a bit confusing in the heat of the moment to sort out everything, it at least becomes expected.
And Twisty Hollow is forgiving enough that any confusion winds up being pretty much a non-issue. There’s also a great variety to the types of challenges that pop up, like the forest levels having the bears to deal with, and the fire elements in the haunted house levels.
I’m also glad that some of the specialized levels that don’t need star ratings don’t have them.
Twisty Hollow is just a solid game with a unique concept. Not game of the year material, perhaps, but a solidly entertaining puzzle game.