Hooks are a recurring motif for Rocketcat Games, it seems - as 'Cry' is to Crytek, perhaps. It's a motif that has taken center stage in both of Rocketcat's previous titles, Hook Champ
and Super Quick Hook
Now, it shows up again in Hook Worlds - albeit under three different guises.
You see, there are three games in Hook Worlds. The first of these, Curse of the Watcher, doesn't anything new or wholly unfamiliar to fans of Rocketcat's previous games. A cross between Super Quick Hook's endless Avalanche mode and Hook Champ's story-driven levels, Curse has players using rocketboots and a grappling hook to flee a pursuing ghost. The controls have changed about since Super Quick Hook, but it's still super accessible; a tap on the left or right is all you need to whip through the scenery.
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The second and third games are a slightly different affair, however, and offer a radical change of pace. The first of these, Bounty Gunner, is more action-orientated than the others and casts players as Zelle, a DLC character from the original Hook Champ. Tasked with cleansing a haunted cove of the ghost pirates that possess it, Zelle constantly charges forward automatically and uses her rifle to dispatch enemies and knock down barricades. There's nobody chasing Zelle, but as she gains speed the game gets much more difficult.
The final game, Cybergnome 202X, brings another change of pace and is by far the hardest of them all, though. Set in a dystopian future where it's illegal to be a gnome, Cybergnome couples the usual grappling hook controls with the ability to invert gravity as you try to dodge the police. It's a difficult feature to get to grips with, especially when you hit a stretch of the level that forces you to grapple across the city upside down, but it's also one of the most fun and rewarding.
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Unfortunately, while Hook Worlds brings some welcome changes, it's also noticeably lighter on character and charm than the previous Hook games. The dialogue that introduces each game is even lighter than it was in Hook Champ, while none of the items that players can buy with their points bring anything but cosmetic tweaks. Most of all, we miss the ability to converse with other characters in the in-game store, a feature introduced in Super Quick Hook.
The upside to this, however, is that Rocketcat has already assured fans that there'll be plenty of updates in the future - including a fourth, retro-inspired game mode and a variety of unlockable endings that will bring more humour to the game. Normally we'd hesitate before praising a game based on nothing more than promises, but Rocketcat has a history of supporting titles, so it's a safe bet.
Hook Worlds lacks the aesthetic variety and scope of previous titles in the series, but it compensates for these failings with it's extra game modes. We wouldn't say it's as essential as Super Quick Hook, but that could easily change after a few updates.