Once in a while, an indie game is created that breaks the mold of what you'd expect. Energy Hook has you control a stuntwoman equipped with a grappling beam and jet pack. The question is; do you have what it takes to be a master swinger?
To be honest, I was immediately disappointed when I first started playing Energy Hook. The controls were tricky, I couldn't do well on any challenge, and it all just seemed like a mess. Thankfully, after getting accustomed to the unorthodox gameplay and intricate control scheme, I was hooked (pun intended). You basically play by swinging through environments while performing chains of stunts such as running on walls, mid-air flips, and smashing the odd window in order to complete various challenges that are scattered around the somewhat large-scale environments. Some will have you race while flying through rings and others test how high of a score you can get by doing tricks. Being able to obtain gold and platinum medals is going to take a lot of skill but luckily you have a lot of freedom to practice. In the end, Energy Hook boasts some thrilling gameplay that'll grow on you as you master the art of swinging like a pro.
Energy Hook features six unique environments as well as ten virtual reality areas. Each environment offers a distinct look and varying topography that'll drastically change your play style. The small Gravship Dock is a great place to learn the basics while Southstar Island is composed of enormous skyscrapers that are a joy to ascend. Future Island is quite tricky with its more flat landscape and Misty City and New Atlantis are full of bottomless pits that'll likely end your life dozens of times. Last but not least, Sky Gardens is comprised of a series of floating islands that are very challenging to navigate through. Considering these environments are open-world, you can enjoy the gameplay at your own pace. So, if you prefer to create your own fun then Energy Hook will satisfy your need for freedom.
Seeing as there are 47 challenges to find and master, you'll play for hours before you start to get bored. I found getting the highest medal possible while climbing the leaderboards to be extremely addictive and I usually don't care much about accomplishing such things. Once you start to be comfortable with the gameplay, there's a menu where you can adjust your equipment's attributes. I was too intimidated to do so but I can see how playing around with your hook's minimum distance, reel speed, and such could be fun for those willing to customize their experience. Whatever kind of gamer you are, there's definitely enough here to keep you busy.
Although Energy Hook is a pretty cool game, it doesn't quite feel complete. The most annoying aspect of it is that it's way too easy to get completely disoriented. You'll often not know where you are because the camera can move very erratically. Not only that, sometimes it focuses on a wall so you can't see your surroundings at all. Obviously, you can adjust the camera manually but for such an action-packed game, I'd want it to behave more intuitively. Next, you sometimes have to land on small platforms and that can be a nightmare. Heck, even landing on large platforms is often difficult. This is because the character runs a little after she lands and it's hard to control her mid-air while she's falling. Finally, I experienced countless glitches. One time, the stuntwoman's body stretched all the way across the screen which looked hilarious. At another point, she started running repeatedly at lightning speed off into the horizon.
Energy Hook is an incredibly unique game bursting with hectic stunt-based gameplay that you can experience however you like. On the other hand, it still feels incomplete with a few irritating moments and many glitches to overcome.
- + Exhilarating gameplay that grows on you
- + Open world setup grants you freedom to enjoy the craziness at your own pace
- + Tons of different challenges to master
- - It's too easy to become disoriented
- - Trying to land perfectly on platforms is needlessly frustrating
- - Many severe glitches frequently pop up