There’s something to be said about having a passion. Whether you’re passionate about movies, biking, reading or whatever, doing things you’re passionate about can really make life worth living. So when two friendly rivals on the Touch Arcade forums decided to get together and make last year’s awesome Mikey Shorts, you could clearly tell that they were passionate about the game they were making.
When the game came and went and after we had all spent countless hours speed-running through all the levels and seeing our achievements on leaderboards and forums, we were left wondering when the next game would come. The wait is over, and now we have Mikey Hooks, a game that took all the things we loved about the first installment, adds in a new swinging mechanic, gives us hats shaped like hot-dogs, and gives us even more awesome chances to try to best our own scores as well as our friends. Yep, this is a game made by people who truly love what they do.
Mikey Hooks pretty much follows the same story as the first game. You run, jump and slide across 24 levels in the story mode trying to save Mikey’s people and his girl from some odd looking robot invaders. But you’re not really here for the story, are you? No, you’re here to get the highest score, and collect the most coins in the shortest time possible and have a lot of fun doing it. And man does Mikey Hooks deliver.
The first thing you’re going to notice is that Mikey Hooks introduces the swinging by a rope mechanic that should be familiar to anyone who has ever played any of the awesome Hook World games from RocketCat. In every level of Mikey Hooks, you’ll find these globes at the top of the screen. When you double-tap the jump button Mikey releases his rope to hook onto the globes in order to swing himself to safety.
Mikey can swing from globe to globe if needed and you can also control how fast you swing, what direction you go in, or how long your rope is. As you can imagine, the levels are filled to the brim with bottomless pits, dangerous spikes, deadly enemies and all sorts of booby-traps for Mikey to avoid by using his rope. The hook mechanic is a lot of fun to use and in the later levels there is a lot of by-the-seat-of-your-pants strategy you have to figure out in order to use it in a way that won’t have you careening into a wall of spikes.
It isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before, but the levels in Mikey Hooks are so cleverly designed and so fiendishly difficult (in a good way) that you’ll spend lots of time just replaying levels trying to get the best time possible. I spent so much time trying to get a perfect score on one level that my thumb actually started to hurt.
But you know what? I didn’t mind. Probably because the controls are so spot on that playing the game starts to feel effortless, and it also may have been the fact that I was giggling at my character that was dressed like Rambo wearing old-school 3D movie glasses who was swinging from a rope that was made out of tied up prison bedsheets. Yes, Mikey Hooks brings back the absolutely ludicrous number of different faces, heads, eyes and hats for you to dress up Mikey in. You can even change the look of your rope if you want, and you can almost spend as much time just making Mikey look goofy as you can playing the game. It just adds to the fun.
Mikey Hooks also has an additional Race mode, where you race against spike covered ghost-looking things who are all vying to get in first place. There are 12 of these levels, and while they’re just as tough as the story levels, the added stress of actually racing against some opponents (that can kill you!) just adds another dimension of fun to the game. You get a real thrill when you see Mikey standing in the first place spot on the podium after besting his spiky, puffy foes.
Mikey Hooks isn’t a deep and involved RPG or a tactical strategy game that will make you change the way you look at iOS, but it is an insanely fun game that will change the way you look at your clock. It’s difficult in all the right ways, it controls like a dream, the graphics are wonderful, and the game is just a heck of a lot of fun. It’s awfully short, but I’m pretty sure that after I’m done writing this I’ll turn on my iPad and spend the next hour trying to beat my score on a few levels that have been vexing me. I’m not sure if I should love or hate BeaverTap Games for this, but you’ve gotta admit that they know what they’re doing.