Climbing the mountain with GrappleBoy

Review of GrappleBoy on XBLIG: Try
He’ll be swinging ’round the mountain when he comes…

Grappleboy is a cute blob-shaped character who jumps and swings his way up a mountainside to get to the ubiquitous Video Store before it closes at midnight (*cough* Blockbuster *cough*). This story is told in the best way possible for a shorter platformer in my opinion, before the game begins in a few words and a single picture.

I had little trouble with the first few levels but noticed where the controls were going to be a little floaty and difficult to achieve the precision that was likely to come. It seemed like the game was ramping up at a pace conducive to learning that kind of timing when the difficulty jumped up; which would have been fine if it hadn’t jumped almost exponentially every level. The only thing that kept me going through each level was that dying didn’t bother me because of how dying was treated. There’s a satisfying splatter of blood and comically blinking eyes with dying but the music keeps on going so you feel like the deaths are slightly separated tries rather than consequential deaths.

It would have been less frustrating if I didn’t think that the collision detection was iffy in some places (a pixel’s difference causing kill or no kill) and if the skill curve wasn’t so great. Also, having to be in the air to use my grapple-tongue is a lesson in patience, especially when combined with the controls.

The art style is great. The levels are well thought out. The music isn’t irritating. The sounds are appropriate to the visuals. I didn’t finish this game. I likely will never have the skill to finish this game. I think everyone should Try this game, however. I liked it and will continue trying to climb that mountain because I wish to SEE the Video Store at the end (and if there isn’t one I will be very, VERY angry!).


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