Fans of Hook Champ have been eagerly awaiting its spiritual successor Super Quickhook. While the core gameplay remains the same, there have been numerous changes made to improve upon the original game’s design. Now that the game has finally been released, the question is: Was it worth the wait? I have good news for fans because the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’.
Upgraded Graphics: As promised this new game brings the series into the 16bit era. The immediately obvious change is the increased size of the main character sprite. Now with a much more full featured body, Jakob and his new crew swing through much brighter and more colorful environments than in Hook Champ. The backgrounds are also more detailed as well. Rocketcat has done a superb job truly capturing the essence of a Super Nintendo game, more so than Hook Champ did the NES.
New Mode: The newest addition to the game format is the inclusion of Avalanche mode. This mode adds virtually infinite replay value. No matter how long you last, you will always be inspired to outdo your last score.
Multiple Challenges: Each stage has several different challenges. Beyond the standard high score challenge the game includes a collect all coins and find all the secrets in each level that add a ton of replay value. You are also given a medal based on how many challenges you can complete in each stage driving the player to complete as much as possible. Have fun getting those platinums!
Collectible Hooks: In Hook Champ the player was tasked with collecting a considerable amount of coins in order to obtain the ultimate hooks for each character, of which there was only one per character. Now in Super Quickhook there are more hooks to collect. Although they are only an aesthetic, they are a very welcome addition that fuels the collectibles fire that Hook Champ started.
Level Menu: A very slick and intuitive level select menu has been implemented that looks amazing. Without even thinking I swiped across the page and found more levels.
While it does feel very intuitive I do feel that the Avalanche mode might have been better suited in a separated position to better differentiate it from the traditional levels. However, its position in the first section of levels does make it instantly replayable and thus this is more of a preference rather than an issue.
In Game Advertising: I know what you’re thinking. Why is he glad to have an in-game ad? Simple. The ad is tucked in the corner and reminds the player of the original game being available for purchase as well as a notice of the upcoming update. I was thrilled to see the developers have already got plans for new DLC and it’s coming very soon. This is a great way for Rocketcat to keep the player abreast of new content without the player having to go out of their way to stay informed.
Lack of Character Charm: Perhaps it’s the having to go out of the way to talk to the characters compared to having little snippets of conversations before starting each level in Hook Champ, but the characters don’t seem to have the same level of personality that the cast of Hook Champ did. The jokes are barely mildly amusing and fall flat.
Universal Hats:This could really be classified in likes or dislikes as I can see the obvious advantage to making the hats wearable by any character. On the one hand, your special hats like the golden crown can be worn by any character. But on the other hand, the lack of character exclusive hats takes away from the personality of the characters themselves. I found this in the end to be just a little bit of a disappointment. Perhaps in the future there will be special hats released for each character, but for now the universality of the hats hinders the game by blandifying the characters.
Ease of Level Completion: According to Rocketcat people have been complaining that the challenges were too hard to complete in order to unlock the later levels, but I found the opposite to be true. Because of the wide openness of the levels and the lack of a chaser to amp up the challenge I found that for the most part I could leisurely stroll through levels with little effort to master the challenges to unlock the content. I thought I wanted the chaser to be gone but it turns out that the pressure created by it is a necessary evil to keep the levels more challenging. Be careful what you wish for.
My quibbles with the game are minor, superficial and arguably super fan only complaints. For most these opinions will seem incredibly nit-picky and virtually not worth mentioning, however to the loyal Hook Champ fan they are worth noting. Despite these criticisms, Super Quickhook manages to replicate the magic that is Hook Champ and turn it into something new. I don’t know if it’s my emphatic love that spills over onto the new game or the fact that the core game was so perfectly carried over into the new game that makes me so thrilled to play. Whatever you want to call it, it’s pure magic to me.