What It Says On The Tin: Grappling Hook

By John Walker on September 24th, 2009 at 8:14 pm.

It's kind of impossible to capture the action of this game in a still image.

I’d not spotted Grappling Hook before, until I saw the demo appear. Now I’m wondering why we haven’t heard more about it. The creation of one-man dev team SpeedRunGames, more intimately known as Christian Teister, Grappling Hook is a first-person puzzler centred around a – wait for it – grappling hook. And as I might have made clear before, ALL games are improved by the addition of either double-jumps or grappling hooks. Grappling hooks doesn’t quite have a double-jump (there’s an extended jump instead) and as such falls short of angelic perfection. But despite this, after playing the demo I conclude it’s pretty damned fine.

Previously Teister worked as a programmer on the god-awful Velvet Assassin for Replay Studios, but a quick go with this should forgive all. It’s a super-simple 3D world, unashamedly made of boxes, some of them green. If they’re green, your grapple can stick to them. And from thence the puzzles are born. It works really well, the few levels on offer leaving me definitely wanting to play more. It’s clear there’s a learning curve to enjoy, and a lot more skill to learn to deploy while using it.

It’s also clear that the timing on this isn’t perfect. There’s a slight lack of finesse of introducing techniques in space where there’s room to safely play. Too quickly the floor is made of electricity and mistakes are punished with jumping back to the previous checkpoint. Not great distance, but since I was being asked to figure out how to fling myself for the first time, I’d have preferred to simply have to climb my way back up again.

It’s definitely worth a look, simply because anything with a grappling hook wins my favour. In this case it’s a magical electric one, so there’s no dangling and so on, but this is of course just another aspect to solving the challenges. Get the demo here. And watch a trailer below:

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17 Comments »

  1. Lambchops says:

    Demo was an enjoyable diversion – I’d agree about the lack of room to experiment with techniques but as the checkpointing is generous it isn’t too much of an issue. Challenge conditions are well thought out and make me want to replay the levels that were there to try and achieve them.

    Don’t think i’m quite inspired to pay 15 quid for the full game though. Plus i suck at this sort of game when more advanced techniques start to get involved!

    Also some of the music is from another recent indie game – I know I recognise it from somewhere; anyone care to remind me where as it’s going to annoy me otherwise. my mind is saying World of Goo but I’m not sure if i’m right. Ah well – good excuse to have another game of World of Goo!

    • El Stevo says:

      The licence on the music means it can be used for free, even on commercial projects.

  2. hydra9 says:

    Thanks – I will check this out. And I agree: Grappling hooks make everything better. Although rope arrows are best.

  3. Christian Teister says:

    Thank you very much for the article and feedback!
    I will think about, where to add more room to experiment safely.

    “god-awful Velvet Assassin” :D

  4. Lambchops says:

    Ah, I know what performs the song now (it says under the trailer on Christian’s site)
    ; it’s Cellule by silence.

    It’s free music so I guess that’s why I’ve heard it in another indie game – though now i think of it I don’t think it was World of Goo. Gah! I’ll figure it out yet.

  5. Bobsy says:

    For me, grappling hooks are all about the swinging, not the man-elevation. It’s this that is the funnest part of Champions Online.

  6. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Jetpacks? What about jetpacks? No?

  7. Tei says:

    Theres like two totally different styles of grapple hooks. The phisic model where you swing, that is fun, but uncontrollable and often very limited. And the no-phisic one, that let you do some crazy stuff.

    This is based on Quake or Doom?, I think these sounds are like the ones from these games.

  8. PleasingFungus says:

    The grappling gun is very… meaty. Has a kick to it. Not what I’d expect from a grappling-hook gun. Fun, though.

    (The announcer is great. Is it just my imagination, or does he swear at you when you die?)

  9. Christian Teister says:

    I recorded most of the sounds by myself.
    The game is using the jMonkeyEngine, a Java engine on top of LWJGL.

  10. mootpoint says:

    Oooh, Windows, Mac and Linux. Colour me interested, maybe this is the game I’ve been looking for to waste time while on my laptop. And in any case, anything with a grappling hook deserves at least a demo-download.

  11. army of none says:

    We need more games with grappling hooks. I remember my most favorite addition to the original UnrealTournament was a grappling hook, and how much I played solely for that purpose…

  12. bill says:

    Wow. Metroid Prime meets Portal with a bit of Mirror’s Edge?
    Sounds rather awesome.

  13. mrpier says:

    So I should wait to get it until he is hired by Valve and it’s game of the year?

  14. Tei says:

    Oooh… It seems a java program. But Is really smooth.. soo fast it needs vsync on :-)

  15. Jimbo says:

    Tried the demo and it’s pretty solid and lots of fun. Reminds me of portal.

    May I suggest you use a synthesized voice for the announcer? I find that recorded voices only really work when done by a professional actor.

    I’m also developing a 3d game in Java (LWJGL instead of JMonkey) – hopefully the more developers using Java, it will dispel the myths about it not being suited for games :)