Batman, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Tarzan – you all have a lot to answer for. You make swinging around and pulling yourselves up on ropes look effortless.

My 10-year-old rope-burned hands and nearly dislocated shoulders brought home the cold, cruel reality some years before my first high school physics lesson: gravity sucks.

It’s a lesson that Gravity Hook HD, despite its fantastical futuristic setting, never lets you forget. Developer Semi Secret Software has iterated on the Doodle Jump formula to make the very act of climbing way harder than merely drawing a couple of trampolines.

Doodle Jump to the future

Your tool for defying gravity here is a grappling hook, which can be affixed to floating nodes with a tap. Once attached, your little robotic avatar starts reeling itself toward the node, gaining momentum until it springs past the node itself.

That’s the point at which you need to find another node on which to latch and continue your ascent. Making things trickier is the role that distance plays: the farther away the node, the harder it is to grapple yourself up.

The act of pulling yourself up is difficult enough, then, and it’s not made any easier by certain nodes that explode when you get close or fall out of the sky when grappled. Indeed, Gravity Pull HD can be a slog at times, lacking the pace and swiftly gained momentum of Doodle Jump and its many clones.

Not so swift ascent

Since its pleasures are hard won, it makes those successful runs all the sweeter. Just moving beyond the first few nodes is far from guaranteed, so you learn to value any form of progress.

Indeed, your first run past the 500-metre mark will unlock Classic mode, which is a direct conversion of the 8-bit-styled Flash game Semi Secret Software originally released.

It’s a brilliant reward, and one that some may even prefer to the main HD version. It feels a little more immediate and responsive than the newer game, though that may be a trick of the excellent retro graphics and soundtrack.

All in all, it’s another fine offering from the Canabalt creators. Although Gravity Hook HD is a lot harder – and harder to love, as a result – it'll worm its way into your affections if you persist.