Tag Archives: Hook Champ

Super Quickhook Grapples its way into the App Store

Super Quickhook, the long awaited second project by Rocketcat Games, has just been released into the app store.  Day of release bonus hat is available today only.  There is also a second hat for those that purchase the game during the its launch weekend.  Day one purchasers will receive both hats.  Super Quickhook sells for $1.99 during it’s initial launch period and for $2.99 after that window closes.

Super Quickhook is the spiritual successor to the consistently popular Hook Champ, an 8-bit style swinging game that differentiated itself from other games in the genre by giving the player multiple routes and hidden paths.  Super Quickhook moves the series forward into the 16-bit era with upgraded graphics and a new mode featuring a randomly generated path to swing through indefinitely.  The game also features the traditional non-random racing levels with no time limits.  Among the returning features from Hook Champ are achievements, the item shop, and OpenFeint Ghost races.

Our 2009 Games of the Year Revealed: Gaming Overload!

Wow.  What a year it’s been for the app store.  This was the first full calendar year that the store has been open for business, and we’ve been treated to a countless amount of games.  Now, all of us have attempted to give a summary of some of our favourite games from the year.  We’re about to list a lot of great games, so sit back and see if you’ve missed any gems from last year or disagree with any of our choices.

Matt: Overall, 2009 was a great year for iPhone gaming. My personal favorite release of the year was the re-imagined classic Space Invaders Infinity Gene, easily the iPhone’s best shoot’em-up. The stages, visual presentation, sound and gameplay combined to make this a game I found impossible to put down. The inclusion of music stages, generated from songs in your music library, make this a game with an infinite amount of new challenges, and the recent update made things even better. Space Invaders Infinity Gene is the best example I can think of of a major game publisher simultaneously revitalizing a classic franchise while doing right on the iPhone platform. Kudos to Taito for a job well done.

For me, the year held a number of other highlights. Meteor Blitz is the best dual-stick shooter I’ve ever played, with sumptuous visuals and perfect controls. Flatspace delivered the most open-ended space role-playing experience on the platform; how you outfit your ship plays a huge role in how you play the game, and you’re welcome to play in any way you like, as law-enforcement or pirate, trader or bounty-hunter, good guy or bad guy. Chronicles of Inotia: Wanderer of Luone and Dungeon Hunter offered up the platform’s best fantasy RPGs, while Rogue Planet delivered an SRPG to rival those on major consoles. Robocalypse, ported to the iPhone from the Nintendo DS, was the year’s best RTS, and IUGO’s Star Hogs was an artillery game not to be missed. GeoDefense and GeoDefense Swarm were the year’s best tower defense games. Chillingo‘s Defender Chronicles effectively tipped the tower defense genre on its side, imbuing it with RPG qualities along the way and cementing it as one of the deepest and most rewarding alternative takes on tower defense yet seen. In addition, the developer has set a new paradigm for the support of existing properties with constant and hearty updates in content. Knights Onrush is the App Store’s best castle-defense game, even beating out Gameloft‘s take on the genre. But it’s Gameloft’s NOVA that takes the crown for the year’s best FPS, highly polished with a robust single player campaign and an excellent multiplayer mode. My favorite retro fixes were the addictive Hook Champ and the lite roguelike The Isle of 8-bit Treasures. For casual games, KarmaStar was a favorite for cramming incredible depth into bite-sized portions, and Canabalt for incredible atmosphere and short, but addictive gameplay sessions. My list is long, but the last games I absolutely must mention are Rolando 2 and I Dig It 2, incredible sequels to their equally incredible predecessors. Damn, what a year!

Daniel: My game of the year would have to go to NOVA from Gameloft. Call me a first-person shooter junkie, but Gameloft did an amazing job with both the campaign and online multiplayer. There have been tons of other games that have come quite close to taking home the award though, from ngmoco’s Rolando 2 to Illusion Labs’ Sway. Com2uS also came out of the box after releasing Homerun Battle 3D along with Inotia  2: Wanderer of Luone, both of which were definite must have titles for me. Chillingo‘s Ravensword was yet another title that I was overly impressed with, along with their fun Speed Forge Extreme.

The list goes on and on, including Firemint‘s Real Racing and Flight Control, Illusion Labs’ Labyrinth 2 and Touchgrind, Gameloft’s Modern Combat: Sandstorm and Gangstar, Godzilab’s iBlast Moki, and much, much more. 2009 was a year quite improved from the initial release of firmware 2.0, and I’ll be surprised if developers keep up the same pace. I’m sure there are games that were forgotten, but either way, let’s say hello to 2010.

Nick: Going back a full year and trying to figure out the best games launched on the app store is definitely a tough task.  Choosing a single game of the year though is easy.  The game I have in mind had an impressive graphical upgrade from its predecessor, and the gameplay’s tweaked difficulty and rolling variations kept me fully interested throughout.  Yes, the game I’m thinking of is Ngmoco and Hand Circus’ Rolando 2.  After replaying levels just to grab all the items I missed on the first time through, I realized the game was something special because replaying is something I rarely do.  I initially opened this site to try and cover games that push forward the idea that the iPhone is a legimitate gaming platform, and Rolando 2 fits the bill perfectly. In trying to list other favourites from the year, I’m sure I’m going to forget many great games.  Here’s a quick attempt at other standout titles I really enjoyed: Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, Sway, Let’s Golf, Peggle, geoDefense, 2XL ATV Offroad, and Hook Champ.

Chris: 2009 was certainly a banner year for the iPhone and its gamers. In 2008 we witnessed the birth of the app store. In 2009 we witnessed it grow into something akin to a child: both awkward and wonderful; sometimes gawky, sometimes menacing, but always full of promise. This year we’ve seen everything from the great Halo clone N.O.V.A. to truly unique puzzlers like Labyrinth 2 and Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor. But for every geoDefense we also had an onslaught of forgettable tower defense games that simply were a recycled waste of time. The still incomplete Minigore gave us a good laugh while Samurai: Way of the Warrior showed us that 3-D wasn’t always needed. At the beginning of the year, who would’ve thought a simple running game like Backbreaker Football could bring so much more life to football than the iconic Madden? That’s what makes the iPhone as a gaming device so special: it surprises us. This little machine somehow manages to bring a decoupage of gaming experiences that no other device seems to match. Gamers everywhere have to agree there’s nothing quite like Zen Bound for the console. As for the best of 2009, that’s tough. The Wing Commander-esque Galaxy on Fire comes close, but ultimately I’m a sucker for the well-rendered RPG; Ravensword: The Fallen King is certainly not without its flaws, but it is the first iPhone game I found truly amazing… utterly escapist. What can we anticipate in 2010 now that the iPhone’s proverbial childhood is over? The fast track into adulthood. With Apple’s newfound success in the gaming world comes a new set responsibilities… and new competition. Also, we all have bigger expectations for this little device than we did a year ago. Things could get really interesting. So, here’s to a new and even better year of gaming in 2010. Good luck, Apple, and keep on gaming!

Jeff: What if iTunes didn’t exist? What if there wasn’t an App Store? What if the technological marvel known as the iDevice was never conceived? Each and every one of us would have missed out on something amazing and revolutionary.  It’s a worldwide store where you can buy all of the newest music of any nationality from anywhere in the world, and purchase multiple games that fit in your pocket starting as low as 99 cents and (almost) not going anywhere above 10 dollars. This universal store has brought many people happiness, and the offerings that you can choose from are astounding. Music will always be changing, and so will the future of gaming. However, I’ve never thought that gaming could change so suddenly or quickly. Five months ago, I would never have thought of the iPhone or iPod Touch as something I would play games on, much less play games on for hours on end. This year, and more specifically, these past few months, have changed the iPhone and iPod Touch into my main gaming platform. And why? Because iDevice games are the only ones that get updated, changed, and churned out so quickly, yet still maintaining the polish and quality we expect from all games.

Now that the iPhone and iPod Touch have been established as possible gaming devices, what are the best games for this “platform?” Or, what is the number one game that all iDevice owners should have? It’s a hard choice, but I have to go with N.O.V.A.. This game has the best graphics, best controls, and debatably due to multiplayer, the best replay value of any game on the App Store. It has all of Gameloft’s quality and polish, and it isn’t a game you just finish and forget; it’s an experience that you remember and keep coming back to, time and time again. On the other hand, there are many great offerings for the iDevice, including Jet Car Stunts, Asphalt 5, Need for Speed, FIFA, Inotia 2: A Wanderer of Luone and many more titles that deserve mentioning. Of course, if I mentioned all of them, the list would be too long since there are just so many different options. All in all, 2009 has been an awesome year both for myself personally and the App Store, and I can’t wait to see what new events and things are in store for me this year. Onwards, and let’s all have a great 2010!

Ryan: The app store has come a very long way in such a short time. I remember when I was impressed by the simplest of games on a mobile device like an iPod. The app store has become a whole new market now with ‘real’ games becoming more polished and fun. One signing example of this is Nova. Nova is a first-person shooter developed by Gameloft that somewhat resembles Halo (ring any bells?) Nova is the most complete, comprehensive game on the app store to date. Not only does it have an engaging single player mode, but it comes with surprisingly fun online multiplayer mode as well. It is no surprise to me that Gameloft is the company behind Nova. After all, they have proven to be strong players in the app store market and have developed a number of hits. Each game they release seems to push the envelope (and my expectations) just a little further. I now expect an iPod/iPhone game to deliver much more than I did even a few months ago. I am excited to see what the app store holds for 2010. I think Nova will be hard to top, but based on what I have seen so far, it is complely plausible.

And that wraps up the gaming year of 2009.  I’m sure 2010 will be bringing us even more impressive games from all the developers on the app store who will continue to push the limits of the platform.  We’ll see you the same time next year for another wrap up!

Updates Galore: Speed Forge Extreme, Jet Car Stunts, and More

Maybe Apple has finally awoken from its holiday hibernation, maybe not.  But either way, yesterday seemed to be one of those “update release days” as I’ve received almost 32 updates within a matter of minutes.  While I haven’t exactly updated every single game, here’s a few that I thought were pretty notable.

Jet Car Stunts: Huge, huge, HUGE issue I had with this game was the difficulty.  Blah, blah, blah, best game on the iPhone?  Whatever.  But with the addition of a tutorial and a casual mode, I can only hope the game will be significantly easier.  Of course, if it isn’t, I expect the less-skilled to riot and cause some havoc to the developers, forcing yet another update.  Either way, I’m glad the game has finally been made a little bit easier.

Speed Forge Extreme: Major problem I had with this game was engine noises.  Seems like there were engine noises all along; they just weren’t loud enough above the music.  Fortunately, the developers of Speed Forge Extreme have tweaked their vehicles to make the engines sound louder, along with the ability to listen to iPod music as an added bonus.  The version 1.1 update also has added a first-person perspective, one that I wasn’t really expecting, but still awesome nonetheless.

Hook Champ: Being our October Game of the Month, Hook Champ has always been one of our favorites.  The new update adds more content yet again, with Hookbot as a new character along with a Mega Hook, 24 new hats, 5th rocketjump fuel tank, and some new Christmasy looks for Jake, Gunny, and Hookbot.  All in all, it’s a good update for those looking for some new clothes to fashion up your characters.

Fieldrunners: One of the first TD games in the App Store, Fieldrunners has always been a classic.  It has been updated to feature the new OpenFeint Gold Edition.  And now before you start foaming at the mouth, it’s basically OpenFeint with a new interface.  There’s nothing special about it, no special features, just a new look.  While it’s a little disappointing, it’s still wonderful to see some added achievements.  Along with OpenFeint Gold, there are two new maps available for DLC, each map costing $0.99 each.

iBlast Moki: It’s one of the best puzzle games on the App Store, and it only seems to be getting better.  The new version 1.2 update updates the graphics, adds 15 new levels, a new Doodleworld, an all new level editor design, and some other minor fixes.  It’s a noteworthy update, that again, costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time.  If you haven’t picked up this game yet, I suggest you to right now before it’s too late and the world comes to an end.

SpringFling: It’s like Doodle Jump, yet prettier, quirkier, and just a little bit different to justify the buy.  The new update adds 9 new clothing pieces for your spring along with a new powerup, giving you the ability to fly up through the level.  If you’re a fan of Doodle Jump, I suggest you pick this one up as well, being the only, truly worthy alternative

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.

Update Round-up: Flatspace, Cliffed update; Hook Champ awaiting approval

When good games get better, I count that a good thing. Such is the case with recent updates to Wisp Games’ Flatspace and IUGO’s Cliffed, both previously and favorably reviewed here at NoDpad.


Flatspace is an open-world space exploration, commerce and combat game, and one of the deepest games on the App Store. Version 1.1 fixes bugs and refines gameplay, and — more importantly — adds two new control schemes. Dodgy controls were one of the only real issues I had against Flatspace at release, and that issue is now moot. Users can now choose between traditional tilt controls, and the new swipe and joystick control methods. The joystick control scheme rocks, and rocks hard. Your ship is now as nimble as the bad guys, and the difference redefines combat in Flatspace. The game was pushing its way into my top tier at 1.0; the 1.1 update now solidifies Flatspace’s place as one of my favorite iPhone games. Read the review and give it a chance.


IUGO’s Cliffed is a top-notch casual game in which you must fall faster than the increasingly fast scrolling of your screen by navigating your around boulders to gaps in the platforms. At version 1.0, the game’s roster included 12 characters. The new 1.0.1 update increases that number by two. New characters are BunBun, a rabbit constantly chasing after a carrot on a stick strapped to his own back, and Cuppie, a living cupcake complete with frosting that’s only slightly creepy. The new characters are unlocked by collecting pickups during gameplay. Additional new features include selectable difficulty levels for the single-player game, new leaderboards for each difficulty level and the usual array of bug fixes and refinements.

The new difficulty levels are very welcome, and while the new characters do nothing to enhance or change gameplay, more characters = more fun. Images on the App Store also promise another update coming for Christmas with still more additional characters. Cliffed is a lot of fun, and has a well-implemented multiplayer component. Read the review.

Finally, RocketCat Games has submitted its first update to Hook Champ, our October Game of the Month, to Apple and is now awaiting approval. The update includes a new playable character, OpenFeint challenges and “ghost racing” against other players. I will have a report and impressions when the update goes live.