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Grappling Hook

Game Name: Grappling Hook
Developers: Christian Teister
Price: $20
Release Date: Out Now!

Review by Andy Yates

Grappling Hook ScreenshotOk, basic description out of the way first: Grappling Hook is a first person perspective, puzzle-platformer game. The twist being you have an energy based grappling hook that can pull you towards any green surface. That didn't take too long did it? Now the hard part will be getting through this review without mentioning Portal.

Because, you see, they're very similar games in some respects. They're both based around a strong central game mechanic, both set in almost clinically clean environments and both feature a number of mind bending movement puzzles based around that central game mechanic.

This is certainly unique however as it has an extremely abstract style with levels consisting of large cubes arranged to form platforms and walls. The downside to this is that it lacks any "civilized" surroundings to hold onto and you easily loose touch that the character you play is a character at all. The upside is you're left with a very pure and clean look that doesn't distract from the puzzles at hand.

Momentum is used to great effect throughout the game in order to reach areas that are too high or too far to jump. The grappling hook can be used to drag yourself in a certain direction but you are able to let go which will propel you past the point you were aiming for. But what I was pleased to see was that this wasn't the only source of extra momentum in the game as you can use the speed of moving platforms by jumping off at the last moment to gain extra distance in your jumps. Some of the momentum puzzles were a little less fun, such as having to jump around corners. These could get frustrating if you keep brushing past the walls, slowing yourself down too much to get all the way around.

Grappling Hook ScreenshotGeneral movement is quite smooth, although I did find the jump distance and fall distance a bit strange. Basically the jump distance felt too high and the fall distance (before you receive critical damage) seems to be more than 20 meters. The reasoning for this appears to be the setting: in space! At least I guess this is the case as the display is partially obscured around the edges with a helmet shape (something you can hide if it bothers you.) and the story mentions getting back to earth.

The puzzle elements of the game involve the usual button-open-door stuff, using the grappling hook to reach long distances and generally avoiding any of the hazzards along the way. The main aim is to collect a number of energy crystals that, once gathered will activate the exit at the end of each level. Some of the more interesting sections involve the aforementioned momentum and others require a carefully aimed grapple. This is especially true later on when you often need to take leaps of faith so you get a clean shot at a green wall that you can only see while not standing on anything!

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