When I first found out about Hook Champ, I knew I had to immediately put it on my “to buy” list. It reminded me of old VGA PC classics like Dangerous Dave and Commander Keen, but with the addition of a single gameplay element I could never get enough of: a grappling hook.
See, I’ve always felt like the grappling hook has got a bum rap in movies and videogames as a simple means of scaling rooftops and performing ninja-like entrances and escapes. But as anyone who’s played Bionic Commando, Links Awakening, or even Metroid Prime knows, a good ‘hook can completely change your outlook on a game. The creators of Hook Champ were obviously taking notes, and managed to turn a physics-based platformer into some sort of adventurous, floaty racing game that’s perfect for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Throughout Hook Champ, you’re tasked with keeping an airbound treasure-hunter alive as he swings away from the cursed whale-being determined to eat him whole. The controls are super simple — just touch left or right to move, and tap a surface to grapple and start your swing — but they require a bit of old-school finesse to get just right. Along the way you’ll find a handful of coins, gems, and artifacts that help pay for new levels, upgrades to your equipment, facial hair, and hats. Can’t forget the hats!
If you expect to be a hook champ right off the bat, try not to feel too bad when you get gobbled up a handful of times — learning how to best build up momentum, tactfully snag coins, and utilize your dwarven rocket boots will take more than just a few levels (and upgrades) to perfect. Then again, once you do get into the swing of things (boo! hiss!), Hook Champ tosses tiny waterlogged corridors and endless pits of molten magma into the mix to humble you once again. It’s a challenging game, but one that’s both fun and rewarding to perfect; and that’s exactly what makes it such an addicting little app worth keeping an eye on.
Does Hook Champ finally give the grappling hook its just desserts? Absolutely. Hook Champ does a delightful job of being fast and fun, with upgrades, unlockables, and heaps of challenge to keep you playing for more than just a few minutes.
Is it worth $2.99/£2.49 ($0.99/£0.49 for a limited time)? Yes and yes! Take a look at some gameplay vids or screenshots, and you’ll get the gist of the entire game. If it looks like your cup of tea, grab it while it’s hot.