When it comes to getting from point A to point B, Rolando 2 is known for rolling, Canabalt for running, and now Super QuickHook swoops in with swinging (and we don’t mean that in the Craigslist sense of the word, you dirty devil). This easy grappling mechanic makes Super QuickHook a blast to play from the moment you boot it up. And, if you’re anything like us, it’ll be a long time before you stop.
Super QuickHook is the sequel to the excellent Hook Champ, and the similarities are obvious immediately. You play as Jakob, an intrepid explorer tasked with scoping out the caverns, peaks, and valleys of an enormous mountain. Once more, you use a grappling hook to swing from the beginning to the end of each level, snagging coins along the way, in your never-ending quest for game completion, gear upgrades, and, of course, more hats.
For a rockin’ boost, try rocket boots.
Thankfully, this time there’s no chomper nipping at your heels, so you can explore each level at your own pace. As you swing around, you’ll notice that the game’s physics and grappling mechanic have been honed to near perfection, so you always feel completely in control. Each level has reasonably-spaced checkpoints the prevent you from losing too much progress if you take an accidental 1,000-foot drop. And then there are the absolutely gorgeous 16-bit graphics. Visually, this is a pitch-perfect homage to late-era Super Nintendo games, when sprite graphics were at their peak.
In addition to the campaign levels, the game packs a separate Avalanche Mode that high score addicts will pour plenty of free time into. This mode has you swinging as far as you can before a fast-moving avalanche inevitably squashes you. The terrain in this mode is randomly generated, so no two attempts are the same. Here too you pick up coins that you can use to purchase upgrades in the equipment shop.
The shop in question sells loads of items to make you run faster, slide farther, and boost higher. Upgrading your equipment is enormously addictive and adds a ton of replay value to the game. You’ll also find an obscene number of different hats and hooks for sale in the shop. These don’t affect the gameplay, but they show up next to your high scores on the leaderboards and prove to the world that you have coins to burn.
It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.
But no game’s perfect, and we have a couple of relatively minor complaints. First is the game’s uneven difficulty. The first three quarters of the campaign mode are a cinch. Then, to unlock the Burn Alley level, you’re required to score 2,000 points in a single run in Avalanche Mode, which is way easier said than done. We managed it eventually (and earned enough coins to max out most of our gear in the process), but it took longer than it should have. Then, to unlock later levels, you’re required to beat developer high scores in earlier levels, which requires even more grinding.
We’re also not crazy about the repetitive level design. The environments look fantastic, but most of them boil down to a series of ceiling platforms, with the occasional steam vent. There are no enemies, and rarely will you come across any memorable level features or dynamic gameplay elements. We’d like to see the developer branch out and get a little more creative in the future.
But those are minor quibbles about an otherwise superb game. Hands-down, Super QuickHook is one of the top platformers on the App Store, and should not be missed.