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Published by Adam Wareing on Casual

A Hollow Doorway is a mesmerising, mind-bending skill game. It has striking visuals, a cool electro soundtrack and absorbing gameplay. There are only nine unique levels, but there are plenty of rewards and ways to keep the game fresh.

The game’s visual style is clearly inspired by the Vorticist movement. Don’t worry if you’re not into art; you can just take my word for it. The harsh lines and chaotic angles of the default aesthetic stunningly contrast with the vibrantly coloured backgrounds. Put simply, it looks cool.

The gameplay is simple: a torrent of rectangular shapes (or Hollows) fall towards a user-controlled rectangle at the centre of the screen. The user must rotate this rectangle to match the position of each oncoming Hollow. It’s an entrancing, engaging experience, and creates the sensation of moving backwards. Some users may find it a little nauseating, so it’s probably not a good idea to operate heavy machinery or perform delicate surgery after a long play session. Doing so will likely mean the next door you pass through will be the exit of your workplace…minus a job.

The difficulty is quickly ramped up as the user progresses; the Hollows fall with increasing speed, the user perspective can shift slightly, and the Hollows can also fiendishly rotate as they fall to create confusion. To succeed, the user must be decisive, choose the shortest turning options, and keep a steady digit on the screen to be as precise as possible. Speaking of digits, you might find yourself gesturing with the middle one at the screen during the odd moment of frustration, but progression is satisfyingly steady. A Hollow Doorway is fun and engaging, but it’s arguably too easy; it won’t take too long to finish the initial levels (of which there are only nine). But for users wanting to continue, the game can be repeated via ‘plus’ levels that provide greater rewards for collecting hollows.

Some users may find it a little nauseating, so it’s probably not a good idea to operate heavy machinery or perform delicate surgery after a long play session.

By spending collected Hollows, the user can customise the look of the game: new ‘body’ and ‘face’ shapes for game’s rectangles can be unlocked. These not only help counteract the lack of unique levels by keeping the game visually fresh, but they also enhance gameplay by providing boosts to factors such as ‘handling’ or ‘torque’ among others. They’re also levelled up through use. The user interface can also be reskinned, but let’s just say some of the skins look better than others.

The soundtrack is excellent. The 80s-inspired synth-heavy tunes could have you imagining you’re a cyborg from a neon-lit, dystopian future whose mission is to…well, do something that’s a bit pointless actually. Scratch that. Basically, the title’s thumping electronic tracks make the experience even more immersive.

The game’s long-term value is enhanced with the inclusion of leaderboards and achievements. Interestingly, there’s a leaderboard for death streaks. Now, this isn’t a list of people to pity. It’s actually a legit challenge to get a super high number of deaths in a row as there’s always the possibility of unwittingly aligning the right way. Attempting to rank on this leaderboard means playing the game in a different way, so it’s a commendable inclusion. The achievements are pretty standard; they’re awarded for things such as level completion or obtaining streaks. Sadly, for the nauseous types, there isn’t one for ‘not throwing up all over the train’ — you’ll have to reward yourself some other way for achieving that feat.

A Hollow Doorway is a great sensory experience and will certainly keep you captivated if it doesn’t make you dizzy.

Our Rating

ProsCons
Visually stunning. Fun gameplay. Great soundtrack. Plenty of unlockables. Good amount of replay value. Could be nauseating. A bit easy.
Rating
8/10
A Hollow Doorway
A Hollow Doorway
Developer: Kenny Sun
Price: Free+
A Hollow Doorway
A Hollow Doorway
Developer: Kenny Sun
Price: Free+