First there was Bionic Commando, and then came Austin Powers. Now, there’s a new swinger in town: Hook Champ‘s Jake T. Hooker. Yeah, baby, yeah!
Hook Champ hearkens back to a simpler time, when men could raid tombs without carrying an arms locker on their back, when the only tools necessary for plundering dead civilizations were a grappling hook and a good hat. In Hook Champ, you are tasked with the retrieval of cursed artifacts. The beginning of each stage sees you lowered into a catacombs where you acquire said artifact. From there, it’s like the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, only instead of being chased by a gigantic boulder, you are pursued by a hungry face. Luckily, you have a long rope and a sturdy hook. Swing to it, man! Swing for your life!
Upgrades: There are only a few truly important things in life: hooks, ropes, guns, boots and hats. Hook Champ has them all, and they get better when you throw money at them. Yeah, baby, yeah!
Wheeee, I’m swinging!: Way back in the 1980s, one of the best moments playing Bionic Commando was the moment you stopped wishing you could jump, everything clicked and you became one with your bionic arm. From that moment on, you were no longer a boy struggling with his gamepad, but a man, swinging with precision and grace. Hook Champ taps into that elation without the distraction of having to put your feet on the ground to kill things. Hook Champ is all swing, all the time.
8-bittiness: I’ve recently been spending a lot of quality time with my NES, because — hey, lets face it — pixels and chip-tunes are where it’s at. Rocketcat is obviously in the know, because Hook Champ wears retro like goth kids wear black. The only difference: Hook Champ is awesome; goth kids are just … goth kids.
Controls: Hook Champ’s controls make good use of the touch screen. Touch lower left or right to run, and tap anywhere overhead to launch your grappling hook at the ceiling to start swinging. Use your momentum to throw yourself forward, hook, swing, repeat. Swinging is faster than walking, and it pays to swing; rarely are coins on the ground. When you buy the shotgun and rocket boots, buttons are used to activate them.
The Title: Indiana Hooker and the Temple of Swing! Bionic Tomb Raider! Uncharted: Among Swingers! Romancing the Hook! National Swinger! Grappling Commando! Get Hooked! Get Into the Swing of It! I don’t know why they gave it a lame name like Hook Champ; sounds like a competitive fishing title. They should have asked me; I’m full of good titles.
Look, swinging is just good, clean fun. You like fun, right? Then buy Hook Champ. It’s fun, and you get to wear a fedora. And for a limited time, it’s available at an introductory price of $0.99.