Hook Up aims to confront a character’s past trauma through matching with their bully on a dating app, exploring their memories as they flirt with this abuser from high school.
In Hook Up, you have been exploring a dating app. It’s a pretty simple app, with a place where you can select a few of your photos, set up your bio, and otherwise ensure your app is set. Of course, you can’t type in whatever you want – the character you are playing has already filled out most of it. You can still spend a few moments adding some other details by cycling through things she wants to say.
While exploring potential relationships on the app, she finds her highschool bully. And matches with them. When I first heard that she had matched with her bully, I assumed this was going to be some negative thing. I would never want to match with someone who bullied me as a child, now being an adult. However, the character within the game doesn’t feel the same as me.
She’s delighted about being matched with her bully, as through the trauma and pain, she has developed a lot of fantasies about hooking up with her bully. That’s something she actually wants to do. You can message other people on the app, however, they don’t seem that interested in your replies, and the real story progresses through talking to your bully. Who thinks this is all some weird joke anyway.
Between the replies in conversation (which you have no control over), you open up memories – and these memories aren’t very positive from my outside perspective. You see moments of time when you were made uncomfortable, made to feel small, and when your boundaries were tested. When you were physically touched and didn’t like it, toyed with like it was a game, all by this person you are now texting. Watching the memories – and hearing the very well-made audio telling you about the experience – might make you uncomfortable, but the character finds a way to spin each memory to be something enjoyable.
Hook Up: The Game explores an interesting situation – a kink that not everyone might understand – and how experiences when you are a teenager affect you as an adult. A lot of your life is formed when you are a child and a teen, so it’s clear that these situations could affect you and your wants later in life. I only got to play a short portion of Hook Up: The Game at EGX, but I am curious what route it will take. Will the game completely lean into this kink and all of this just being her experience, or will it give you more time to process the situation and realize that it was – and still is – quite abusive?
Hook Up: The Game is currently in development, but in the meantime, you can follow its creation on the game’s site.
Jupiter is a prolific indie game journalist, writing for Metro UK, Big Boss Battle, AlphaBetaGamer, and many more, all with a focus on smaller indie gems. She covers thousands of game jams and indie games on her YouTube channel, letting every game have a moment in the spotlight. She runs indiegamejams.com, a calendar of all of the game jams going on …….