Puzzle games can either be done really well or very poorly. It all comes down to how the puzzles are constructed, and if there’s a sense of overall satisfaction whenever one of these puzzles is solved. Security Hole is a game in that genre that manages to be pretty enjoyable. It features an interesting story that is told by way of text chat and still artwork. The overall design of the game brings back memories of the movie Tron along with AOL Instant Messenger.
In the game, players are tasked with hacking though complex security networks by way of abusing security holes in the system. Gameplay is split into two phases, the first being the Hacking phase, which involves turning and manipulating shapes made up of multiple blocks in order to allow them to fit through passages. Think of those peg and hammer toys you used to play with in the doctor’s office. This is by far the most satisfying part of the game as it does the thing that makes puzzle games great, you feel good figuring it out.
For the second phase, you are given a silhouette of a random shape. Players must then choose the correct shape that matches it. I found this phase to be the less enjoyable part of the game, but since it is relatively short, you’re back to the hacking phase of the game quickly.
Security Hole is very generous when it comes to failing a puzzle. For each level you are given a set of power ups that extends the amount of time that players have to complete a level. Even if these power ups can’t get you through a level, you are given two chances to continue from the last puzzle you failed. I found this to be a very wise decision considering that as you progress through the game, levels become lengthier.
Thankfully, the game also does a great job of introducing new mechanics to the player by scaling by the complexity of the puzzles in order for you to get use to them.
The biggest challenge that the game throws at you are the game’s boss levels. These incorporate both time and movement limits. Along with these limits, players are also now transparent. These sections add a new layer of difficulty that I thoroughly enjoyed.
As for how the game controls, playing with a controller was the optimal choice. When playing with mouse and keyboard, I found that manipulating shapes was quite difficult. Mouse sensitivity really threw off how accurate my movements were and the addition of an option to adjusts it would have really made the difference.
All of these problems were alleviated once I switched over to a controller, but there were still some issues with at setup. When it came to navigating menus, the controller became unresponsive. If I wanted to select something on another part of the screen, nothing happened when I pressed the directional buttons and I would eventually have to resort to using the mouse. Although the issues may seem inconvenient, they did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the game.
As for the game’s story, I really enjoyed the way that it was presented. The story is told through a chat box. Additionally, the still artwork really brings out the futuristic tone that the game is going for.
The only issue I have is how abrupt the transitions between the story portions of the game and gameplay are handled. You could be reading the text on the screen and without warning be thrown into the next section. There were times where I’d press a button to advance the story and it would jump to the next section of gameplay. This issue could be resolved if there were some sort of text or graphic that signalled these transitions.
In terms of replayability, the game does include online leaderboards that allows players to compete against each other to see who can solve certain levels of the game faster.
Overall, Security Hole is a fun and enjoyable puzzle game that gives the player a feeling of satisfaction on completing a challenge. With the exceptions of the abrupt transitions, the story is told in an interesting way that keeps the player wanting to know what’s going on. The minor issues with controls and resolution can be trying at times, but they do not take away from the enjoyment of the complete game. I could see these issues fixed in the future. If you are looking for a fun puzzle game to pass the time, Security Hole is a pretty good candidate.