key review info
- Game: Grappling Hook
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
SpeedRunGames has really pulled a number on us by releasing Grappling Hook mostly because it's the type of game that will leave you wanting for more even after you complete all the 22 levels, unlocked by the full version.
It's like the game was first thought of as a shooter, but, somewhere along the way, the developer forgot about ammo and bullets and, instead, added twisted mazes and colored moving cubes. Don't get me wrong, I love first-person shooters, but when you combine them with a puzzle game and you shift the area of interest from senseless killings to using your cunning logic skills to survive, things couldn't get any better.
Don't forget that there is no background story for the game, so all that's left for you to do is take each level at a time and get them completed as fast as you can. There is no higher purpose that you are fighting for, there is no objective to reach that can act as an incentive. The game emphasizes the “think fast” concept, leaving behind the elements that could be distracting you, such as speech, dialogue and even a wide range of sounds that could have been used to enhance the gameplay. Still, for a stripped-down version of a shooter, Grappling Hook surely leaves an impression on anyone that plays it even for five minutes.
As far as gameplay is concerned, I couldn't be more enthusiastic about it. Being a FPS fan, the game is all about targeting the right location at the right time. It feels like trying to get an endless streak of headshots, but without having to worry that the cubes fire back at you. The W, A, S, D controls will even give you a degree of control during your airtime after you've released the hook. This is great, especially if you really want to take advantage of the gained momentum and slip in between cubes that could squash you or closing doors.
The only weapon that you carry and that you will ever need in this game is your grappling gun that fires a hook so that you can attach yourself to the green-colored cubes. I know it sounds somewhat simple and pointless, but believe me when I say that you shouldn't be suckered by the relatively simple appearance of the game. That hook is your only chance to complete the title and the better you know how to wield it, the greater your chances become.
As you have probably noticed by now, the game is pretty straightforward and it doesn't require any shooting on your behalf. Still, that doesn't mean that you won't be fired upon. As you progress through levels, defensive turrets will make your life even more exciting than it already is. Now, not only will you have to make it all the way across the map, but you will also have to dodge bullets.
There will be times when you will feel a bit frustrated because you will have to take the same jump over and over again. I guess it all depends on your skills and how well you can coordinate your action, because, if you play the game right, you will get everything done from the first time. Even avoiding the traps is not as complicated as you might think, as long as you stick to what you have to do and don't look around too much. Personally, I got the feeling that I was constantly running away from an invisible enemy that was always one step behind me. Each time you play a new level, you get this speed rush and you just can't shake it and it pushes you to stay focused and don't make any mistakes.
In this 3D, FPS-puzzle-action world your only beacon of hope remains the teleportation pad. This, along with the teleportation keys that you need to collect in order to activate the pad, are your only two major objectives. If you can get there safely in one piece, then you're out of the woods and you can start worrying about completing the level even faster the next time around.
Graphics and Audio
As for the graphics, although smooth and not very complex, they could use some visual upgrades so that they can spice up the appealing meter. As far as I'm concerned, after 22 levels of seeing gray, red, blue and green, you will probably stop looking at the fun part of the game and start looking at it as just some giant and smooth, colored pixels that keep moving around for no apparent reason.
There is not much to say about the audio part of the game either, it's lacking at best. You hardly even notice that it's there and, if you sit around and listen to it, it seems like the same song over and over again. The only things that you can hear are your own footsteps and noises you make when you jump over gaps.
On an overall basis, the concept behind the title is to be commended, and the gameplay experience is something that will surely leave an impression. There are still a couple of things that can be done better with the game, such as visual enhancements and the addition of an attractive, rock soundtrack. On the other hand, the game seems to work just fine, even in its current state and it surely is a lot of fun even as simplistic as it looks.