Tako is a hexapus… not an octopus… there’s only six tentacles attached here. Trapped in a lab, one day she spots a way to escape – she has the ability to shift between the interior and exterior of the container she’s confined to. Realising this starts off her journey of unlocking doors, encountering friends and foes, and generally spending a lot of time walking on the edges of boxes in order to get away from whatever fate had in mind. Hexagoon, the developers of Takoway, bring a unique take on the spatial puzzle game to mobile devices along with a cutesy art style that belies the devious design of the levels. Will it manage to keep you moving to the final exit door?
Set as simple “get to the exit” puzzles, each stage in Takoway has the titular character traversing along a single plane in isometric environments. If there’s a row of linked white dots on the same surface, Tako can move along them. She can’t jump or climb over obstacles, so to get around these you need to manipulate the play area. Swiping across the screens shifts Tako between the inside and outside of the space so she can navigate around whatever is blocking her path. This switch between floors and walls allows for a great deal of creativity, and the chance it’ll cause a headache or two whilst you figure out where you are and what to do next. To start with it’s the basics of swapping between the two to get from the start to the exit, though as you progress through the floors there are new elements brought into play that switch up the challenge.
Domes that trap Tako, rotating sections and portals all make an appearance and are nicely introduced so that there’s essentially a tutorial level at the start of each new section. Once the new techniques are clear it’s off on your own to work your way through another five stages to unlock the door and get to the next part. The new mechanics are all player controlled, so you’ll decide which teleport to head to, when to swap domes between planes, and how much to rotate the turnstiles; but each will require looking at the outside and the inside of the level at the same time to figure out the best route. This element of swiping back and forth becomes second nature relatively quickly and with a few levels under the belt it’s possible to plan out the moves in advance and make it through in the lowest number of steps as possible.
Each stage in Takoway has a “target” number of steps to take. Get to the end in the lowest amount and it’s gold star time. These are not that easy to achieve and much of the play time will be spent trying to lower the the amount of movement, though exceeding them doesn’t stop progression. That’s not to say that the puzzles aren’t taxing. As the game goes further on, all the elements get combined and suddenly what was static before becomes quite dynamic, and with it the feeling of more freedom in the solutions. However, make a wrong move on some of the later levels and it’s best just to reload and start from scratch so you know what you’ve moved where. There are a few head scratching moments, and no hint system, but trial and error will normally help reveal the answer.
With its bold art style, weird characters and cutscenes, and unusual focus, Takoway is a good puzzle game that will have you whiling away a couple of hours. Get focused on it and it’s easy to get sucked in, particularly with the alternate artwork and music used when swiping between the planes. It’s only drawback is that the 36 levels seem to shoot by all too quickly, though there’s a serious challenge on hand for those who want to grab all the stars. This is a must for spatial logic fans and for those who want to see something new from the genre.
An Android copy of Takoway was supplied by Hexagoon’s PR team for the purpose of this review, and the game is available now on iOS and Android for around £2.69.