Developer: Simple Machine
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Encapsulating the simplicity that was beloved of Simple Machine’s earlier title, 4 Thrones Solitaire, Hoots is just as quick to learn and easily enjoyed during the day’s downtime. Even if it is perhaps a little too simple at times.

It’s a Match-3 game involving matching up numerous cute and colorful owls. All that’s required of the player is to slide the owls up or down the screen in order to line up. The grid is only 3×3 so it really doesn’t take much effort to get three owls to line up correctly. At times, the addition of new owls means that one line has already been formed, merely requiring one to tap on the screen to clear them. It sounds too simple for comfort, almost, but it’s actually quite cathartic to play.

hoots6hoots4Requiring little more than some quick thinking, Hoots is an easy game to dive into when there’s a couple of minutes spare in the day and one wants some kind of distraction. Each game is on a 60 second timer, with more time added for multiple clearances, so it rarely takes much time to complete a game. A form of energy bar in the guise of acorns dictates how many times one can play Hoots in a row, but it only takes 5 minutes for each acorn to recharge and often this is a game to play in short bursts rather than extended sessions. Game Center support offers some level of competition with high score leaderboards to consult.

Sometimes it’s the very simplest ideas that appeal most, and Hoots scratches that itch well. Sure Hoots won’t be a game to talk about or analyze, but as a simple distraction it’ll hold one’s attention for a time.

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