Super QuickHook: Grappling Greatness
As a follow-up, Super QuickHook naturally has a lot in common with its predecessor—but surprisingly, there are quite a few little differences that add up to a game with a feel of its own. You have to make your way through long, multi-tiered stages primarily through the use of your grappling hook. A strong emphasis is placed on chaining together swings to keep your momentum going, and you’ll find yourself soaring over a lot more gaps than you saw in the previous title.
You’re granted the rocket boots from the start this time, and they play a more integral part in discovering secrets. It takes a lot more effort to swing yourself up to a higher tier, but a quick blast from your rocket boots can get you where you need to go. In general, the stage designs in this game flow a lot better, making it easier to get a good head of steam built up. Reaching alternate paths, on the other hand, takes a bit more effort and clever thinking. It’s a good change as it allows beginning players to feel empowered while still rewarding those who engage a little deeper with the mechanics.
Speaking of which, grappling feels just as good in Super QuickHook if not a little better. Your hook can reach quite far by default in this sequel, making it easier to make those wild last-minute saves that always feel good in games with swinging mechanics. The physics are still very much in play here, so if you want to move forward at a good speed or gain altitude you really need to time your grapples just right.
Outside of the new endless stages, a lot of the pressure found in the previous game has been removed. There’s nothing threatening to gobble you up if you take too long to move forward, and the stages all feature a few checkpoints so that you’re never set too far back if you make a mistake. Allowing the player to take their time encourages more thoughtful moves, while the checkpoint system means that experimenting isn’t all that risky. That said, it’s not as though Super QuickHook is bereft of tense situations. There are many occasions in this game where there isn’t any solid ground underneath you for long stretches. If you lose your momentum and your rocket boot fuel is spent, there’s nowhere to go but down. Thus, the player is encouraged to keep moving between rest points.
There is once again a shop where players can buy various upgrades and cosmetic items like hats, but in this game it also serves as a way to give the game a little more character. When you drop in at the shop you’ll see various characters hanging about. You can choose to chat with them and see what they have to say. It’s not much, but a little goes a long way when combined with the charming artwork.
The upgrades aren’t all that different from the previous game, largely consisting of improvements to your hook and boots, along with a few items to protect you from particular hazards. One new item is the pedometer, which offers you helpful information about each stage and your progress within it. As you upgrade it, it will show you what percentage of the stage is finished, your time, how many coins you’ve collected, and more. It’s a useful item for those who are dedicated to finding everything and clearing every target.
Another cool new feature is the inclusion of endless stages. The game features two such stages, and as the name implies you simply go as far as you can before some kind of hazard from behind catches up to you. You can find coins in these stages, and they provide a fun extra for anyone who has completed all of the other stages. Of course, completing all of the other stages is a rather Herculean task. Not only are the Nightmare difficulty stages enormously hard to complete, but there are also tons of incredibly obscure secrets to sniff out.
Super QuickHook’s stop-and-start flow much more closely resembles traditional console games, as opposed to its predecessor’s arcade-style “non-stop tension” gameplay. That gives it a slightly different appeal that some may prefer. It feels slightly more refined than Hook Champ, but some may miss those rough edges. Fortunately, both games exist and there’s no reason both can’t be enjoyed for their own merits. An exciting thrill ride with tons of content to dig through, Super QuickHook is a worthy successor to what the original game built.