SiNKR 2 has gotten its hooks in me


Hook, line, and…

As I’ve grown older in age, I’ve developed an appreciation for minimalist puzzle games. There’s something so appealing about playing a title that cuts out all of the excesses of the triple-A market and hones in on the mechanics that carry the title. Being a medium based on player interaction, I love when games let their design and systems do the talking instead of drawn-out conversations with NPCs.

A few years back, I played through SiNKR and walked away very impressed. It was a budget game that had a clean aesthetic, solid music, and mind-bending puzzles. The specific hook to its puzzle design was literally a hook. You had to carry circles to a goal by reeling in a hook that would grab them. It started off small, grew with complexity over a few levels, then switched up mechanics by introducing different mechanisms.

It was game design 101, but it contained moments of devious ingenuity that had me smashing my head against the wall for 10-15 minutes at a time. Thankfully, that minimalism created a calm atmosphere that never left me frustrated, just eager to best the puzzles at hand. It’s well worth a look if you’re into those types of titles.


It wasn’t everything that could be done with the formula, though. During one of the Destructoid staff discussions, I had brought up SiNKR and went to link to the Steam page for it. There, I noticed that a SiNKR 2 was in development. I reached out to developer Robert Wahler on Twitter and he told me he’d be present at PAX East. What a coincidence. I was heading there in a few weeks!

After spending about 15-20 minutes with SiNKR 2, I can safely say it is every bit as good as the original. That may not be a ringing endorsement, but this is the same quality design that makes for hard to put down puzzle solving. All those dang hooks are back with more circles to pull into various goals along the way. It feels like returning home after traveling the world.

This sequel is more a refinement of the original title with a whole lot of new puzzles thrown in. There aren’t any new mechanics being introduced in SiNKR 2, for instance. Instead, the way you progress through each bracket has changed. You’re now no longer limited to a strictly linear progression, but able to select puzzles on a hexagon-based board. This affords you the chance to take a look at harder puzzles, but safely skip them without halting your momentum. I feel that’s a solid way to not only cater to less skilled players, but to take off the training wheels and really throw in some brutal puzzles.


As well as that, a new rating system for puzzles is present on the menu. The first title had a few hiccups with difficulty balancing, so SiNKR 2 is upfront about how challenging each level is. If you feel like the three-star hard puzzles are just too much, you can safely ignore them and still reach the conclusion. The demo build had a grid with 88 different puzzles and all kinds of ways to skip challenges should you need to.

Apart from those changes, this is basically SiNKR with more to do. That might be a little deflating, but it’s easy to get hooked into the flow that SiNKR has. That craving to go “just one more” is strong with how simple the game presents itself as. That it teaches its mechanics through experimentation is also highly rewarding, meaning even failures feel like time well spent.

True to its predecessor, SiNKR 2 will be another budget title. Robert Wahler told me he’s thinking maybe $3 for this one, but it won’t be a wallet buster. SiNKR 2 will be launching on mobile and PC platforms first (around May, if everything goes right) with Switch and Xbox One ports coming later in the year. The original SiNKR will also be coming to consoles, likely in a bundle for a similar price.