Thoughts: Grapple, the Space-Slinging 3D Platformer

Written by  Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:43
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Slinging from platform-to-platform, I used my gooey, displaceable mass to cling for spherical life while platforming in space. This game feels sort of like a Spiderman game, I thought, except this one has direction and purpose.

We first covered Grapple in Greenlight Spotlight Episode 4 and were excited about its simplistic premise and promise of fluid mechanics; the game puts you - playing as our amorphous, blobby friend - in a platform-littered space (who left those there, anyway?), where you feel the inexplicable desire to jump into wormholes. There are other objectives along the way, like picking up, err, what I've cleverly dubbed "green things" -- you see, they're really quite complex: They're green, and they're things. Green things. I think they're probably good to pick up, seeing as they're green.

grapple-preview

 

If that doesn't make it abundantly clear that the game is still in full development swing, then the fact that I'm telling you "it's in full development swing" should -- despite still being polished up, Grapple comes together quite nicely. These 3D platforming games aren't so much about story and artistic miracles as they are the third leg of design: Mechanics. It's all about the feel of the game (which we discussed with the Insurgency 2 devs, albeit entirely a separate subject); movement, interaction, and reward through problem-solving. If you're a mechanically-inclined player, Grapple's definitely your thing.

Before writing more words - which require tireless, like, reading and stuff - here's a video of myself playing some Grapple:

Craziness. Luckily, as the devs had heard tale of my conquest, I was sent a special build that makes the game several-fold more challenging. You know, so as not to make it look too easy. In its present state, the game's later levels are actually pretty damn hard -- that's a good thing, though, and will make for fun time trials as things get closer to release. There is a built-in timed-run mode, so for those who enjoy mastering a level and whipping through it at breakneck -- err, breakblob? -- pace, that's totally an option.

The primary mechanics currently involve jumping, clinging, and swinging, each of which interacts uniquely with the environment. You'll cling to not-evil-red surfaces, slime your way toward the next platform, and then launch a grappling line to grab precariously floating objects. That grapple's pull and swing feel appropriate to what player intuition would tell you to expect, which is probably the most rewarding part of the game. I guess that's good -- the game itself feels like the reward, so there you have it. Strange, playing games and having fun immediately has sort of become an alien concept -- I've grown used to having to "work my way up" to have fun. Grapple is definitely good at getting straight to the fun part.

You can find Grapple's official website here (including a download link), their Greenlight page here, and will, of course, see more videos posted on our YouTube channel as time goes on. The game is still being developed, but being a mechanics-focused player myself, I've found it very enjoyable. Go grab their download and have some fun with it.

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:54

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