626134_5Rockcat Games' second title, Hook Champ [App Store] was approved and appeared for download last night. Since then, I've spent a good amount of time with the game and have really enjoyed everything about it.

In Hook Champ, you play as an Indiana Jones-like character equipped with a grappling hook trying to escape from various haunted ruins before you're eaten by a ghost. The core gameplay mechanic revolves around using your grappling hook and rope to swing through these ruins as quickly as possible.

The controls are simple and work well, touching the bottom right and left corners makes you run that direction, and tapping the top of the screen throws your rope in that direction. Releasing your finger recalls your rope, and you can immediately tap again to send your grappling hook flying back to the top of the screen to swing again.

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Your time in every level is tracked and uploaded to an online leaderboard, and as you progress through the game you earn coins to buy various upgrades for your character. These upgrades tweak every aspect of the game from making your rope longer to making you run faster and everything in between. There are even superfluous upgrades like football helmets and headbands for your guy to wear.

The whole game is wrapped in wonderfully nostalgic pixelated graphics with chiptune music, and load times on my iPhone 3GS are nonexistent. It's very difficult to find anything about Hook Champ to complain about, although I do suppose the lack of mid-level checkpoints can be irritating on the more difficult levels. Still, all the levels are short enough that you never feel like you've lost that much progress when you die.

Hook Champ is an absolutely fantastic game that all fans of retro styled sidescrollers should own. It's currently on sale for 99¢ this weekend, which only serves to sweeten the deal. The thread on our forums are filled with enthusiastic and overwhelmingly positive impressions of the game, and Lasharor has some excellent tips for newcomers.

App Store Link: Hook Champ, 99¢

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Xood

    I am quite picky about games. But this game, I got nothing to complain about. Really nice! I recommend to buy it, and if not then check the light version which is coming out soon -- just that the price might then already raised.

  • Xood

    I am quite picky about games. But this game, I got nothing to complain about. Really nice! I recommend to buy it, and if not then check the light version which is coming out soon -- just that the price might then already raised.

  • http://Toucharcade.com Thorbjorn

    F*** YEAH!

  • http://Toucharcade.com Thorbjorn

    F*** YEAH!

  • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

    Wow, that's really bad graphics... It's was funny playing games like these back in the day... but why make one deliberately on these devices, that has so much more potential...

    • http://www.rocketcat-games.com/hook/ Kepa

      Plast2:

      We're independent developers. If we don't intentionally make the graphics look retro, there's consequences. Very horrible consequences.

      Hell, the guys that made Darwinia originally wanted their game to look like Warcraft until an unmanned bomber drone was called in as a warning to them. And they live in Britain, which protects them somewhat. We really don't have a choice.

      It's all in the Patriot Act.

      • foolishwolf

        high marks for this reply haha

      • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

        Hehe, okay :)

        Well, hope you guys get some sales, and by the looks of it, your strategy seemed to pan out.

      • Jason

        Please don't humor people who cannot grasp concepts like budgets and stylistic choices. Even in a jockular manner, it just gives them a false sens of relevance.

  • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

    Wow, that's really bad graphics... It's was funny playing games like these back in the day... but why make one deliberately on these devices, that has so much more potential...

    • http://www.rocketcat-games.com/hook/ Kepa

      Plast2:

      We're independent developers. If we don't intentionally make the graphics look retro, there's consequences. Very horrible consequences.

      Hell, the guys that made Darwinia originally wanted their game to look like Warcraft until an unmanned bomber drone was called in as a warning to them. And they live in Britain, which protects them somewhat. We really don't have a choice.

      It's all in the Patriot Act.

      • foolishwolf

        high marks for this reply haha

      • http://jespersunivers.dk/ Plast2

        Hehe, okay :)

        Well, hope you guys get some sales, and by the looks of it, your strategy seemed to pan out.

      • Jason

        Please don't humor people who cannot grasp concepts like budgets and stylistic choices. Even in a jockular manner, it just gives them a false sens of relevance.

  • joni

    Love pixel style !!

  • joni

    Love pixel style !!

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron aaronsullivan

    There's too many good games lately, but I'll have to check this one out.

    Love me some pixel art, too. Just making it pixel art doesn't make it good, but it's just as viable an abstraction as all these polygon pushing games. In fact, I find polygon games to have a much worse percentage of pleasing imagery compared to pixel art games.

    Furthermore, games that go for photorealism tend to age worse than those that rely on more abstraction in the visuals. When you make something abstract (like pixel art) the viewer/gamer fills in the details with their own experience, making it feel more genuine. When the goal is for it to look exact without artistry, people's perception of what is "realistic" changes over time, and older games just look fake.

    Sorry about the dissertation. lol.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron aaronsullivan

    There's too many good games lately, but I'll have to check this one out.

    Love me some pixel art, too. Just making it pixel art doesn't make it good, but it's just as viable an abstraction as all these polygon pushing games. In fact, I find polygon games to have a much worse percentage of pleasing imagery compared to pixel art games.

    Furthermore, games that go for photorealism tend to age worse than those that rely on more abstraction in the visuals. When you make something abstract (like pixel art) the viewer/gamer fills in the details with their own experience, making it feel more genuine. When the goal is for it to look exact without artistry, people's perception of what is "realistic" changes over time, and older games just look fake.

    Sorry about the dissertation. lol.

  • B.Root

    Picked this game up yesterday and I'm really impressed. I really love the retro aesthetic it adds charm the the title. Also I'm generally not the type of player who enjoys going through the same level over and over again, but the way you've integrated the store into game means it's that a reply value has been added without it feeling tired or repetitive.

    All I need to do now is upgrade those darn jump boots....

    Actually it wasn't a unmanned drone but the back catalogue of Celine Dion records....

  • B.Root

    Picked this game up yesterday and I'm really impressed. I really love the retro aesthetic it adds charm the the title. Also I'm generally not the type of player who enjoys going through the same level over and over again, but the way you've integrated the store into game means it's that a reply value has been added without it feeling tired or repetitive.

    All I need to do now is upgrade those darn jump boots....

    Actually it wasn't a unmanned drone but the back catalogue of Celine Dion records....

  • Syferus

    I'd just like to say that this is one of the most fully formed games I've played all year - it's beautiful and the difficult in making a fun, responsive swinging mechanic can't be over-rated. Fantastic!

  • Syferus

    I'd just like to say that this is one of the most fully formed games I've played all year - it's beautiful and the difficult in making a fun, responsive swinging mechanic can't be over-rated. Fantastic!

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    Reminds me of the original version of Bionic Commando a little.

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    Reminds me of the original version of Bionic Commando a little.

  • concrete_d

    Controls great, and the DOS-era graphic style is charming. Reminds me a bit of Cave Story and Spelunky for PC, and makes me think how great ports of those two games would be on the iPhone.

  • concrete_d

    Controls great, and the DOS-era graphic style is charming. Reminds me a bit of Cave Story and Spelunky for PC, and makes me think how great ports of those two games would be on the iPhone.

  • TKO

    I gotta chime in in favour of the pixel-art graphics too. Love them. Totally adorable. And the gameplay rocks. The urge to take one more swing through a cave to get just a few more coins .. like the monster design too. He certainly adds urgency to your progress. Very very good game.

  • TKO

    I gotta chime in in favour of the pixel-art graphics too. Love them. Totally adorable. And the gameplay rocks. The urge to take one more swing through a cave to get just a few more coins .. like the monster design too. He certainly adds urgency to your progress. Very very good game.

  • Gunnder

    YES! Purchased on screen shots alone! Cave Story all the way!

  • Gunnder

    YES! Purchased on screen shots alone! Cave Story all the way!

  • Rodriguez

    Great game!
    I really like the art style, fits perfectly for such a game. Hell, I even managed to get a nice spot on the world ranking in one of the first caves. :D

  • Rodriguez

    Great game!
    I really like the art style, fits perfectly for such a game. Hell, I even managed to get a nice spot on the world ranking in one of the first caves. :D

  • http://adrian-clement.com Adrian

    Been playing this game heaps lately - it's so much fun and I love the art style. Easily one of my top 5 favorite iPhone games.

  • http://adrian-clement.com Adrian

    Been playing this game heaps lately - it's so much fun and I love the art style. Easily one of my top 5 favorite iPhone games.

  • Andrew

    Add this to the list of best games created specifically for iPhone.

  • Andrew

    Add this to the list of best games created specifically for iPhone.

  • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

    Loving it. The retro-styled graphics is an excellent stylistic choice. They really complement the gameplay and if I didn't know better I would have thought this was a conversion of an old title. Most importantly though the gameplay is rock-solid and just about the most fun I've had with the iPhone ever. Also kudos to the developer for the many humorous touches in the game.

  • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

    Loving it. The retro-styled graphics is an excellent stylistic choice. They really complement the gameplay and if I didn't know better I would have thought this was a conversion of an old title. Most importantly though the gameplay is rock-solid and just about the most fun I've had with the iPhone ever. Also kudos to the developer for the many humorous touches in the game.

  • AnotherDan

    Where are all the jobless people complaining about price. You can't seem to get a iphone game blog with out price complaints. Jobless people thinking the developers should be working for free.

  • AnotherDan

    Where are all the jobless people complaining about price. You can't seem to get a iphone game blog with out price complaints. Jobless people thinking the developers should be working for free.

  • jamesZ

    Please add music to the levels. The title music is epic, but there is no music during the game!

  • jamesZ

    Please add music to the levels. The title music is epic, but there is no music during the game!

  • Alex.B

    I don't see how people are able to pay their AT&T bills if the have trouble picking up a 2 to 3 dollar game.

  • Alex.B

    I don't see how people are able to pay their AT&T bills if the have trouble picking up a 2 to 3 dollar game.

  • englishtoffee

    Anyone able to beat the forbidden hats level?

  • englishtoffee

    Anyone able to beat the forbidden hats level?