Not Drowning But Flexing: GIRP

I wouldn't even make the first ring in real life

Suddenly everywhere today: this brilliant but monstrous physics game about rock-climbing, drowning and muscle-flexing. Indie browser game/punishment GIRP is vaguely akin to sleepy mobile puzzle title Ancient Frog (itself now on PC too), but driven by desperation, confusion, horror and something that feels like genuine physical exhaustion. Clever. Tight. Panic-inducing. Sportsmanlike nonetheless.

If you played one-man dev Dr Bennett Fodder’s earlier game, the legendarily cruel/comedic QWOP, you’ll have at least some idea of what you’re in for. The most exceptional twist is how it uses the keyboard, just how well the many keys of that sturdy plastic plank fit a rock-climbing concept.

Ah, I should stop there. GIRP is far better played than read about, to be honest. This is something to be experienced, not dissected. Be warned that it may take a little while to figure out, and a whole lot longer to achieve anything even slightly like mastery of. You’ll be impressed and obsessed though, I suspect.

I’ll see you back here shortly to hear about your score, once you’ve wiped the river of sweat from your brow.


  1. TomSmizzle says:

    34.1m. I would have got further but stupidly I let go of the letter instead of shift!

    I was never any good at QWOP, but this has already got its hooks into me. I can see myself battling for highscores in this for weeks.

    • Henke says:

      36,4! :D (I do believe that’s a highscore in THIS commentssection. *smug*)

      There’s a bit at 36 meters where you have to let go of the C to get to the A or the Q. That killed me.
      Anyway I am loooooving this game. :D

  2. Alex Bakke says:

    31.9M – MUST PLAY MORE.

  3. Quasar says:

    I wish he would use his feet.

  4. Quintin Smith says:

    This is a metaphor for games journalism, I think

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      Isn’t everything?

      Except perhaps Games Journo Story…

    • Acosta says:

      You mean, like we try to survive typing words only to end falling in abyss of poverty and social awkwardness? Yes, I would agree on that.

    • 4026 says:

      You have to keep your fingers pressed firmly into the keyboard permanently, even when you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. If you ever let up – because you’re weak, or tired, or distracted, or confused – even for a second, you’ll plummet away irretrievably into the cold, rising tide.

      Er… I presume.

  5. Kelron says:

    5m. Got cramp in my finger.

  6. rei says:

    Stevie Smith reference? Lovely poem. Poignant.

  7. 4026 says:



  8. Moni says:

    I’m trying to get Girp to pull off this move:

  9. J-Han says:

    Nobody heard him, the dead man,
    But still he lay moaning:
    I was much further out than you thought
    And not waving but drowning.

    Poor chap, he always loved larking
    And now he’s dead
    It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
    They said.

    Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
    (Still the dead one lay moaning)
    I was much too far out all my life
    And not waving but drowning.

  10. Mr_Initials says:

    1.1 yea. Fell off. Play more when i have time

  11. DeanLearner says:

    Rob Schnieder Girp de girp
    Until one day *record screech*

  12. DeepSleeper says:

    Shift… F… T. T. T. -T GODDAMN IT T-.

    I need a keyboard that works with shift F T.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      I’ve found it works best if you use the mouse instead of shift…

    • Vandelay says:

      I found using the mouse easier, except for the times when I needed both hands on the keyboard. I generally found myself clambering all of the keyboard, switching hands and fingers. Although that could be down to small girly hands.

      I was shit. Managed 10.8m as my best.

  13. Acosta says:

    2,5m, I’m really bad at this…

  14. 69stabcat says:

    nothin’ feels better than slappin’ that bird naw mean? Get out of here bird.

  15. Chaz says:

    Urm… 0.1m, not really sure how to play this.

    • notjasonlee says:

      at least you figured out how to consume food for sustenance. there is no greater reward!

  16. Ian says:

    About 19m. Those birds are fucking irritating. I’m bad enough at this as it is.

  17. Jonathan says:

    I got nothing. Then I found out you could flex!

    Now my best is about 1.5m. I can do better than that in real life ffs.

  18. Ian says:


    Got to 51m and was cruising until my ACCURSED MORTAL FINGERS got confused about what they were hanging onto and reaching for!

    Done now.

  19. BobbleHat says:

    Given his near superhuman strength, you’d think he’d be able to swim.

    • JackShandy says:

      He could, but his proud sense of sportsmanship stops him. The waves have won this one, he says. Let them have their prize.

  20. fearian says:

    I got cramp in my finger and spilled a glass of water over my desk.



  21. Blackberries says:

    14.6m. Goddamn birds. Accidentally let go of all keys.

    I’m not that great. Finding controlling his swinging body a bit frustrating. Really poor at timing when to flex/reach for stuff for the bigger grabs. Not sure I’ll play much more.

  22. drewski says:

    10m or so.

    I find keeping my head around the keys needing pressed is hard enough without worrying about water. Needs a zen mode.

  23. noggin says:

    About 11m – keep accidentally letting go with the wrong finger…
    The real life version of this would be an extremely extreme sport on a carefully prepared rock face. Climbers are given an epidural and forced to carry a bag of scrabble tiles.

  24. kulik says:

    What happen to “Vertigo” the ragdoll 3d climbing simulator anyway?

    • egg-zoo-bear-ant will e 91 says:

      Yes! This did it better anyway. I go rock climbing to pretty decent standards, and though it’s not quite such a challenging funky memory game remembering where all your limbs are in reality, it is a bit, and you can’t pull up and stay up quite like that unless you are super muscley, and most of the holds aren’t really holds but a vertical side etc, that is a hold if you lean against it. Apart from that engrossing stuff, this emulates the core problems of grip, and the tactical management of energy you have to do, in a wonderfully simple way. And the man said it couldn’t be done in a videogame! O ye of little faith.

  25. Kefren says:

    17.7 metres, then I couldn’t work out a way on without going back, which I didn’t want to do.

  26. MacBeth says:

    I keep getting stuck – trying for a letter, can’t get it, but can’t assign a new letter as a target… very frustrating…

  27. mcnostril says:

    Anyone else get to the top?
    I wonder if there’s different prizes if you go faster.

    Took me 28 minutes.

    • Henke says:

      How high up is the top?

      Highest I’ve gotten is 64 meters. Will defenitely be trying to reach the top. :)

    • mcnostril says:

      You weren’t very far, it’s at 70-something meters (I was more focused on not falling than the actual height, and the end screen only says your time).

  28. El Stevo says:

    I have no idea how to do this. Got about 8 metres.

  29. Daave says:

    41.6 first try, took a while though.

  30. dartt says:

    64.3m and then plummeted trying to make a jump, did some mad upside-down craziness to get that far :(

  31. edit says:

    Fun! After a few attempts..
    71.6 … seems to be the top? Maybe another screen after that? There’s a tricky swingreleasegrab that needs doing there, going to the left.. I managed the swing and even grabbed the next letter for a moment, only to release that key instead of the other one in a moment of bumbling foolishness.
    Time for another go..

    Edit: and damn that’s some annoying seagull AI. Always blocking you from building momentum.. Some times it just seems to fly over the top of you and not let you move properly for ages..

    • edit says:

      DAMNIT. Screwed up at the same place.. 72.3 this time. One more go, starting to spend too much time on this thing…
      Edit: And again… This time swinging around the top for ages trying to get a good swing. I wants that present…

    • UmmonTL says:

      I made it, took a bit over 24min and in the present was…
      nothing :(

      Ah well, maybe try speedrunning it

    • mcnostril says:

      Seems like the present is random.

      I took 28 minutes, and I got a stick of butter.
      Someone else on another forum took 25 and got a carrot.

    • Jesse L says:

      I got plastic pearls at about 24 minutes. I’m keeping the screenshot of that. Man when I made that final jump…whoa. The relief. I’ve got that gaming buzz you hardcore VVVVVVV/Meatboy types talk about.

      Steps to the top: 1. Get the hang of the momentum. 2. Learn to latch on at the part of the handle closest to your next goal. 3. Don’t make it harder than it is. I got into a rhythm of trying to grab the farthest possible ring I could, wasting time when I could just reposition with three quick grabs and move through faster. 4. After you’ve gotten to 35m a couple times, practice jumping, and dropping and grabbing a ring, at your next restart, so have some experience doing it when you have to at the very top.

      My fingers are still tingling. What an amazing game! Smart guy. Mad props. I was there.

    • liqourish says:

      i made it to the top in eighteen minutes twenty four seconds.

      got unpaid parking tickets :[

    • RagingLion says:

      Here’s your time to beat people, courtesy of Draknek: 9min 32s link to

      I myself only got as far as 10.9m after a few attempts.

  32. sexyresults says:

    enjoyed too many ninjas more

  33. edit says:

    Well, my verdict is that it’s a lot of fun, a very rewarding game to improve at.. After a while you learn to control your swings and you can shimmy up pretty quickly. I haven’t gotten so into a flash game for a long while.

    My problems with it are:
    – Using the keyboard results in buttons not being recognized sometimes (good god, you’d think by now no PCs would have to suffer such an ancient peripheral limitation). So I used the mouse.. but being a swf on a web page means clicking outside of it pauses, and you can’t see where it is to avoid that. The pause system is decent, but random pauses can still kill your flow and encourage mistakes, and if you were holding 2 buttons one gets stuck. Let me run this thing in full screen and I’ll be ecstatic.

    – The seagull exerts too much force on your movement, and it is ridiculously stubborn, still flying into you or your target letter after you’ve violently kicked it several times. It definitely adds some fun and gameplay depth, but I think it could be less annoying with some minor changes. Plus it could add a highly entertaining gameplay element if you could kick that bugger into oblivion and earn a break from it with a well executed swing. As it stands the bird exerts more force on you than you do on it, which is pretty silly.

    For a single level flash game though, 10/10.

    • Sic says:

      Buy a decent keyboard.

      That is all.

    • PanpipeSolo says:


      It’s the game not the keyboard. That or the OS. Certain key combinations just don’t work.

    • liqourish says:

      i used the mouse and did the keys one-handed. it was much easier, and not really confusing, since i only had one hand to worry about.

  34. PanpipeSolo says:


    Got to 72.5m and then died 3 hooks from the end. There’s a pretty hard jump at the end.

  35. Ricc says:

    Could this be a comment on Another World? They both have red hair and frustrating, back-to-the-beginning gameplay. :P

  36. Oak says:

    This is sincerely great.

  37. Bret says:



  38. Ricc says:

    Damn you, GIRP! I can confirm, that it is possible to beat the game without ever releasing both hands at the same time. So you don’t have to jump, but it takes quite a while…

    Spoiler: (ending)
    link to

  39. amishmonster says:

    10.6M before Sticky Keys started coming up every 5 seconds and annoyed me into stopping. Is there any way to turn off that useless Windows “feature”?

    • Ian says:

      I wanted to do this recently and while one or two google result suggestions didn’t seem to turn it off I got there eventually.

    • Premium User Badge

      Waltorious says:

      Indeed, you can turn Sticky Keys off. I forget exactly how to do it… think that when the box pops up about sticky keys you can hit an “options” button or something, and then from the box that pops up you can select to disable it.

      EDIT: Apparently I hadn’t turned it off yet on this computer, so it popped up just now and I was indeed able to click on an option to turn it off. So next time it turns on, you can do that.

  40. EthZee says: