I loves me some 2D action platforming and now that I played Grapple Dog, I'm one happy bear so let's see what this indie is all about.
Grapple Dog stars Pablo who stumbles upon an ancient device made by a renowned inventor after he gets lost in some ruins. Although this is cool, he also accidentally awakens an evil presence at the same time that unleashes a horde of invading robots to the otherwise tranquil islands. So, it's your job to work through these islands while fending off the robotic invaders and eventually bring peace back to the land. To help flesh things out, there are plenty of cute NPCs and the dialogue scenes are quite endearing complete with appropriate chatter noises such as how Pablo barks as he speaks. In fact, nearly everything about this delightful indie is bursting with charm from its adorable well-animated sprites to its lovely level designs. Just thinking about it makes me want to stop typing and play it again. v1d30chumz 3-235-176-80
Now that I'm back, allow me to describe how Grapple Dog plays. At its core, it's like most 2D platformers where you run left and right while jumping on enemies' heads. However, you also have a grappling hook that can latch onto certain overhead surfaces which allows you to swing. This is what makes its gameplay stand out even if it reminded me of Bionic Commando albeit more fluid and fast-paced.
The levels within Grapple Dog do a great job of offering a lot of distinct scenarios where you have to scale walls, trigger platforms to emerge, swing over spikes, outsmart enemies, and even swim. Each aspect of gameplay is super-intuitive and satisfying and I thoroughly enjoyed working through every level while uncovering the odd secret. Speaking of which, you can collect oranges as you play and the main collectible are purple gems that are needed to unlock further groups of islands. If you get enough oranges in a stage, you'll acquire 2 additional gems and there are bonus gems, too, that unlock extra challenge stages so there's a lot to sink your teeth into. 😄
Oh, and Grapple Dog features time trials for each stage as well as a bonus mini-game called Boomerang Bandit which is a pretty fun shoot 'em up. Anyway, as you play, you're treated to a fantastic soundtrack that fits the vibrant game world perfectly. With that said, there's only one primary music track per island group so I wish there were more tunes to help offer some variety in the audio department.
Although I had an overwhelmingly excellent time with Grapple Dog, it does have a couple issues regarding stiff controls. For starters, it's very difficult to jump to your immediate left or right. Upon tapping jump and a direction, you lunge towards that direction even if you only tapped it a little bit. This often makes it hard to jump on enemies that are right next to you so instead, you have to make sure there's a bit of distance beforehand. Also, the grappling hook can only be aimed straight up or at 45° angles up even if you're using the analogue stick which can be frustrating whenever you're trying to aim anywhere between those set angles. It's not a big deal, though. 🤏
I love Grapple Dog so much that I hope to see Pablo come back for many more swingin' adventures. From its fantastic 2D platforming action to its rewarding collectibles and its adorable world to its quirky cast of characters; this delightful dog has it goin' on.
- + Excellent 2D action platforming with plenty of lengthy and varied stages
- + Adorable graphics and characters
- + Lots of challenging replay incentives
- - You can only grapple at a few 45° angles
- - Not enough background music tracks
- - Jumping could be refined a bit