Grappling Hook is a first-person puzzler which is shockingly based around the use of a grappling hook to reach the end of the level. That describes the high-level concept, which is as straightfoward as the name. However a game with such minimal graphics and simple gameplay can really shine in the details. Grappling Hook can shine with the best of them.
The puzzles are conceptually very straightforward affairs--collect all the gems to unlock the final teleporter to exit the level. The implementation is spot-on though, the physics are tight, the controls hyper-responsive and the grappling hook itself is very easy to use. The aiming and movement are very precise and solid. Every move you make feels deliberate, which helps because you're trying to land precise jumps while avoiding electric tiles. Where it counts, Grappling Hook delivers what the gameplay needs to succeed; namely precision and control.
The premise is explained with a tongue-in-cheek text scrawl when you start the game. You have been teleported from Earth into this complex in order to perform various experiments. To find your way out, you simply have to find and activate the right teleporter. As a first-person, physics-based jumping puzzler with minimal graphics that involves the player running through a series of experiments, the Portal comparisons are inevitable. Indeed it seems to pull straight from the Portal playbook in almost every way. Grappling Hook is all about the gameplay though, from what I played in the demo the quirky story all but disappears after the opening text. The game quickly settles in on the simple but well executed gameplay, which is where it truly shines.
Why You Should Check This Out: A game about using a grappling hook to jump around, Grappling Hook sounds simple but manages to take a fairly straightforward premise and really take it to the next level with tight controls, excellent gameplay and precise movement. A simple game that's done well, what's not to like?