Game Reviews

Super QuickHook

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| Super QuickHook
Super QuickHook
| Super QuickHook

In any good adventure it's not about the destination but the effort of getting there.

Super QuickHook is all about the journey, the game's nonsense story rendering the destination inconsequential. What you're doing is more important than why you're doing it in this plucky platformer. It's an exciting game, even if design flaws keep it from being truly super.

Equipped with a pair of rocket boots and a grappling hook, you're set to traverse 18 levels of jungle, ice, and underground caves. Swinging is your means of transportation: tapping the screen launches your grappling hook, which grabs onto the first object within its limited range. Holding a finger to the screen keeps your hook fastened, whereas lifting it releases the hook.

Perpetual motion

Momentum is critical in Super QuickHook. Learning when to fire and release your hook is key to speeding through each stage. While it's possible to use a pair of horizontal directional buttons in the lower-right corner to run over bridges, plateaus, and assorted platforms, the pressure of the clock combined with impassable pitfalls force use of your hook.

Think Indiana Jones's daring whip swing escape from the stone sphere at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark multiplied tenfold.

The game doesn't have Indy's panache, but it's equally fun. Branching 2D levels are packed with point-boosting coins and secrets to be found only with skilled use of your grappling hook. Money earned from successful expeditions can be spent at a well-stocked store where you can outfit yourself with upgrades, decorative clothing, and even alternate playable characters.

Fortune and glory

Phenomenal integration with OpenFeint ensures that your completion times and scores for each stage are recorded and ranked. Moreover, you're able to duel with other players using ghost data for the highest score or fastest finishing time. Developer Rocketcat has even posted its own best scores and times, taunting you try a level just one more time in an effort to top the team's totals.

Expect a challenge, because Super QuickHook isn't an easy game. While the mechanics are straightforward and easy to learn, acquiring the sense of timing and skill with the grappling hook needed to master stages takes practice.

You shouldn't have any difficulty completing any of the game's stages, yet unlocking access to all 18 is tough. Most levels are unlocked by simply finishing the preceding stage -however, later levels demand that you beat Rocketcat's scores as posted on earlier levels.

To unlock Deadman Pass, for example, you have to top the developer's score on three other levels.

Trials for the penitent man

Nearly a quarter of the game sits behind such steep quotas. This isn't an indictment of the game's difficulty - Super QuickHook has the ideal balance with regard to gameplay - but rather it's about the bar being set unnecessarily high for unlocking levels.

There's more than enough to grapple with in the levels that completing them should be good enough to unlock stages. I'm not comfortable with the idea of making a portion of the single-player game so difficult to get access to.

The result of such strict mandates is that you're encouraged to memorise levels. In some questionably designed stages, there's no other way of knowing how to advance without trial-and-error.

Occasionally, you face a giant pitfall and nothing on which to grapple: faced with an empty screen, how are you to know what to do? Often, you have to fire your hook toward an unseen object off the top of the screen until it catches and you're able to make progress.

These couple of unpolished stages together with steep access requirements for the final few levels are the only snags in this energetic adventure.

It's good fun in spite of its minor shortcomings. Super QuickHook is progress for Rocketcat beyond its debut darling Hook Champ - which also embraces a pixel-art style - yet like it's grappling hook gameplay shows, preserving momentum in any adventure is a tough thing to do.

Super QuickHook

In spite of the steep difficulty, Super QuickHook is a charming, fun aerial adventure
Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.