Review: Super Quickhook for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch

In 2009, a little Indiana Jones-type character with a large collection of hats captured the hearts of iPhone owners everywhere.  The game I’m referring to is Jeremy Orlando/Rocketcat GamesHook Champ.  Hook Champ was the definition of a quality iPhone game, offering easy-to-pickup, hard-to-master gameplay, along with a huge amount of levels, unlockables items, and cool hats.  For the sequel to Hook Champ, Rocketcat decided to go bigger and better with Super Quickhook. Not only does Super Quickhook expand and improve on virtually every aspect of its predecessor, it also offers a new, Canabalt-style endless mode (which is randomly generated each time you start).  I strongly believe that Super Quickhook should be the “poster-boy” of iPhone games, and if someone asked me to show them why the iPhone should be taken seriously as a handheld gaming platform, this is the game I’d show them – and they’d love it.

Hook champ was clearly a retro-inspired game, proudly embracing its 8-bit style.  While that was a nice touch, I was glad to see that Super Quickhook has upgraded to 16-bit style graphics (hence the “Super” in the title).  I say 16-bit style, because the visuals in the game are clearly too advanced to actually have worked on the Super Nintendo.  The backgrounds are beautiful, character animations are fluid and detailed, and there are particle effects galore.  Super Quickhook allows you the option of turning down these particle effects if the game runs slow on your device – if you’re using a first-generation iPhone/iPod Touch, this option may be for you.  The characters (of which there are a few unlockables, with more to come in updates) look great, and the graphical upgrade gives you a better sense of their personality.

The gameplay mechanic has not been tampered with, which I think is a good thing.  You’ll traverse levels using a Bionic Commando-style grappling hook and running.  The goal is to build up momentum by swinging, and keep that momentum up to beat a level as quickly as possible.  It really does take some skill to be proficient at Super Quickook.  Unlike Hook Champ, there’s no monster chasing you through the levels (although there is an avalanche – but only in the endless mode).  So this time around you’ll have time to explore – if you wish – and find all of the coins and hidden bonuses in a level.  If you want to progress through the game, however, you will have to be speedy.  The Rocket Boots are back as well, which can save you from plummeting to your death, and of course they are upgradeable too.

There are an absolute ton of levels in this game.  At first, simply beating a level is enough to unlock the next one, however the later levels will require you to beat certain times to progress.  Near the end of the game you’ll have to beat “RocketCat’s” scores (RocketCat is the developer) to unlock more levels.  Just like in Hook Champ, high scores/times are kept track of through OpenFeint, and it supports all of the stat-tracking, achievements, and friends lists you’d expect.  At any point you can challenge one of your friends’ scores, which is done by racing a “ghost” of their player through the level.

Not only does Super Quickhook have a ton of regular levels to unlock, it also offers the endless Avalanche mode.  In Avalanche mode, the game puts together a randomized course with pieces of other levels and you’ll be chased by an avalanche, which serves the same purpose as the monster from the first game.  It’s a lot like Canabalt, or The Impossible Game, but I think the swinging mechanic adds a new element that makes Avalanche mode much more fun than either of those games.  The beauty of Avalanche mode is that you will earn money to spend at the Item Store, so playing it and beating your old record is beneficial to your overall progression through the game.

The Item Store is another element carried over from Hook Champ, but this time around there’s way more stuff to buy.  You’ll earn money by collecting coins and beating old records (your skill is assessed at the end of each level, and a certain number of bonus coins will be awarded).  Certain items – like the grappling hook and rocket boots – are upgraded and have a direct effect on gameplay, making your player better at swinging or giving you an extra RocketBoots save.  Other items like the hats are simply for making your character look cool, and don’t change the way your character acts.  As mentioned above, you can also buy new characters to play with, which is a great touch.

The sheer amount of content in Super Quickhook is astounding.  Even after you’ve beaten all of the levels and bought everything from the store, you could keep replaying levels to try to beat your friends’ high scores, or to advance up the global leaderboards.  There are also leaderboards just for your friends list, so bragging rights are a big part of the replay value.  Another aspect of Super Quickhook that I really admire is that it takes a high level of skill to get to the later levels.  I’ve seen some complaints about this in other reviews, but I think it’s great that the game doesn’t assume that the people playing it are poorly-skilled videogamers.  If you have an iOS and you don’t have Super Quickhook, go pick it up now, it’s one of the best games around.

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Posted on July 22, 2011, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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