iPhone Review: Super Quick Hook

Written by Joe Martin

June 29, 2010 | 11:39

Tags: #iphone-review #platformer

Companies: #apple #indie

Sequel to one of my favourite iPhone platformers, Hook Champ, Super Quick Hook’s is easily one of the most addictive games on the AppStore, even though it’s mainly just an iterative advancement on it’s predecessor. Really, other than new graphics and levels, it doesn’t add all that much to the original formula – if anything, it takes things away and reduces it to the bare essentials.

Where Hook Champ was a cave-based race against time that saw you swinging through caverns in a bid to reach the exit before a giant ghost ate you, Super Quick Hook is a lot more relaxed and open. There’s nothing chasing you now, so you can leisurely take in the scenery and explore the much larger levels in search of secrets.

Control and feature-wise, Super Quick Hook is almost identical to the original Hook Champ though; just touch and hold where you want to shoot your grappling hook and start flinging yourself through the levels and grabbing as many coins as you can. Once you reach the end of a level you’re booted back to the main screen and can use your booty to buy upgrades or cosmetic tweaks before you try another level.
iPhone Review: Super Quick Hook
Swing, little man, SWING!

The removal of Toothy, the giant ghost who chased you in Hook Champ, may sound like a small change, it actually radically alters the pace of the gameplay and encourages you to replay levels many times in order to earn medals and unlock new shop items. Medals are doled out for finding all secrets and coins in a level or defeating the developer’s high score – which is no mean feat, especially since the levels are so much larger than ever before.

A few other new features have been added to your arsenal, such as Slick-pants that let you slide along the ground should you miss a jump, but the major boon that Super Quick Hook has over platformers is Avalanche Mode. Randomly generated and infinitely long, Avalanche Mode has you trying to outrun a wall of snow for as long as you can; a real challenge for Hook Champ veterans, who can compare scores through OpenFeint.

The only real disappointment to be found in Super Quick Hook is the banality of uselessness of the much-hyped secrets and easter eggs that are littered through the levels and which players need to seek out. While some of them are random enough to raise a quick grin, such as a mammoth white rabbit found lurking in a deep tunnel, others just aren’t worth the effort. It’s slightly annoying that none of them seem to do anything either; you can spend an hour scouring a level to find the hidden easter egg only to find a tiny campfire that says “Tasty meat!” when you walk past. It’d be far better if each secret unlocked a new shop item or line of dialog.

iPhone Review: Super Quick Hook
Buy, little man, BUY!

That said, it’s possible that Super Quick Hook is a victim of it’s own success in this regard – the level of polish and depth of content is so great that it’s strangely easy to ask for more. I would, for example, love to see a gallery feature that collected all the secrets you’ve discovered together. I’d love that…but it wouldn’t really add anything essential to the game – so it’s probably best to stop daydreaming and admit that Super Quick Hook is brilliant the way it is.

What can I say? I’m hooked.

Verdict: Super Quick Hook not only looks better and plays more smoothly than Hook Champ, but it’s also far more balanced and caters equally to newcomers and pros. Some levels will have you chewing your headphone cord in frustration, while others will be a pleasant getaway on the daily commute – and it’ll only get better once there’s a few updates under it’s belt too.

Super Quick Hook is available on the AppStore for $2.99 / £1.99
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