Platform(s): PC (version played), Nintendo Switch
Genre: 2D platformer featuring Bionic Commando grapple hook gameplay
Sometimes it’s the little games that try to surprise you. Grapple Dog did just that by landing onto my PC unannounced and sneaking in, charming me with its cute take on 2D platforming. But only for a brief moment.
Getting To The Swing Of Things
The premise is simple: you have to stop a maniac robot from going to the Great Inventor’s island to unleash heck. You play Pablo, a cute but simple-minded dog who has the power to run, jump pretty high, and use a fancy grappling hook to use onto blue surfaces and grapple points. Much like the classic Bionic Commando titles, you can swing around and use momentum to get you to higher places and do tricky jumps to seemingly hard-to-reach places.
You’ll go through the many motions of levels left to right, swinging and collecting fruits as well as purple gems to bypass the literal robot gatekeepers (ala the mothership 3D Mario games), then fight a fun boss that tests your platforming and grappling skills. It’s all fun thanks to the sweet-yet-safe level design, the pretty solid controls, and the simplicity of it all. The opaque white arrow that shows the trajectory of Pablo’s grapple hook is also a nice touch so that you know where you’re swinging beforehand.
Perhaps that’s the only failing of Grapple Dog: it’s simple and delivers what’s needed. That’s not a bad thing especially if you’re jonesin’ for some 2D platforming, but it’s not exactly a meaty affair that’ll make you do return trips.
Grapple Dog may not be wholly innovative, groundbreaking, and meaty, but it is a fun and bright diversion for what it’s worth. Add this one to your indie gaming budget titles (it’s US$13/RM32) collection if you fancy some well-thought-out jumping puzzles and grappling physics action. It’s more poodle than Saint Bernard, basically.
Final Score: 70/100
Review copy provided by publisher Super Rare Originals.