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Hook Champ Update Hits + Garters & Ghouls

Rocketcat Games‘ update to Hook Champ, our pick for October Game of the Month, has finally hit the App Store. The update is packed with new content and features. Accord to the developer, updates include:

- New unlockable character with bigger guns (and almost as many hats)!
- New Challenge Levels, with the fastest Chaser ever!
- OpenFeint Leaderboards and Achievements!
**** The FIRST GAME EVER to feature OpenFeint Ghost Race Challenges! ****
- New hats! More hats than previously thought possible!
- New item for Jake to help out in lava-heavy levels.
- Restart Level option in Pause Menu!
- Numerous bug fixes (including that mute switch!), tweaks, improvements, and much much more!

The new character is none other than Gunny, the female character with whom Jake banters at the start of each level. But I’m not going to tell you how to unlock her.

Ghost racing comes in two forms. Beginning from your second attempt at a level, you can race against a ghost of your previous best score. Should you find the ghost player distracting, you can disable it via the in-game options. You can also challenge Open Feint friends to ghost races, either for best time or best score. And speaking of Open Feint, you may also challenge yourself to complete any of 44 new Open Feint achievements.

Jake’s new hot pants will also keep your bacon out of the flames once per level in lava stages, which is a great help. And some of the new hats are pretty cool. I mean, what’s better than hats?

Overall, Rocketcat Games has turned in a pretty beefy first update for this fantastic game, and promises a second update already in the works. What will this next update hold? Only time will tell.

In my initial review, I rated Hook Champ as a “Buy” and have regretted it ever since; I should have rated it a “Must Have“. This new update only drives home my regret. It’s a game well worth the price of admission, and the developer’s dedication to making a great game significantly better … well, what are you waiting for? Hook Champ is available for $1.99, and also comes in a free lite verison. Game on!

A new YouTube promo video shows off the new character and the ghost racing, below.

Namco has also released and update to its ghoulish dual-stick shooter Garters & Ghouls. I reviewed the game back in October when it released and fount it Worth a Look, but riddled with bugs and somewhat lackluster. The new update provides much needed bug fixes, a new intro cinematic, a Survival mode with five Survival Achievements, variable difficulty settings, the ability to cycle through weapons, and multiple profiles for saving progress. For 3GS owners, there is also new “Compass enabled gameplay” which I have been unable to test, as I still own only an iPhone 3G. Overall, the update does little to change the gameplay experience, but the stability improvements are welcome; in the previous version, the game crashed constantly.

One mark against the it, though: when I installed the update, it erased my game progress and forced me to start the game over again. If you’re already deep into the game, you may want to finish off the adventure before downloading the update.

Garters & Ghouls is available for $4.99, and is unique in offering a twin-stick shooter with a progressive level design and a decent narrative. I would still recommend picking up iDracula over Garters & Ghouls, though, if you have to choose.



  1. squarezero on Wednesday 2, 2009

    On G & G: I would have agreed with the iDracula recommendation till the latest update. You mentioned the survival mode and bug fixes, but forgot the most important change: performance. At least on a 3Gs, the games is now multiple times faster than the original release, achieving the same kind of intensity as iDracula but with an actual story, multiple levels and environments, and more varied monsters, attacks, and game objectives. Monster animation could still be improved, but at least the main character in G & G has hips that actually turn (unlike iDracula).

  2. Matt on Wednesday 2, 2009

    Touché! I hear you on the hips, and fine hips they are. I think Garters & Ghouls makes a very impressive presentation, and with the stability improvements, I’m looking forward to spending more time with it. Previously, the game crashed every time I entered the Steam Queen shops after the third level.

    I still find the weapons to be totally disappointing, though. Variations on pebble shooters, all. The aiming could still be better, and the lack of true 360 degree movement — they lock you into directional points — is somewhat disturbing. I think iDracula just feels better.

    Pricing also factors into the equation.

    With this update, though, you’re right that the game is much easier to recommend. I think those unfamiliar with this genre of action games would be better off beginning with iDracula, or even MiniGore or Alive-4-Ever as their first purchase. Fans of the genre, though, who have already played those games should definitely check this one out.

  3. squarezero on Wednesday 2, 2009

    G & G feels to me like a more grown-up version of dual stick shooter. In those terms, I think that recommending that people start with iDracula or Minigore makes a lot of sense. I agree about the targeting (particularly those darned booths in the Carnival levels), and the game is certainly lacking a bit on the weapons department (personally, I would love a flamethrower). I still could not be happier with the update; the original release literally put me to sleep, while the new version is just really fun.