Games of the Year

Energy Hook

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Energy Hook athletes use their jury-rigged gravity beams to perform death-defying stunts. Fall great distances and use your momentum to launch yourself to dizzying heights! Run on walls, and perform loops, spins, and aerial tricks! Energy Hook challenges you to chain together sequence of tricks, wall-runs, and stylish moves for massive scores hurtle through time challenges by using tricks to gain speed and seek out collectibles hidden throughout the levels. Much like a graphic novel might have different chapters by different artists, Energy Hook showcases the work of several different artists: the organic floating islands of Keegan O'Rourke the dystopian future city of Killst4r the soft, pastel colored buildings of Paul Whitehead and the virtual realities of Antonio Revard. Energy Hook is a challenging game that requires a great deal of finesse and practice to master! Do you have what it takes?
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

A comparison:
I 100% completed Marvel's Spider-Man on PS4. It's a really fun, ultra-refined, beautiful looking game that deserves the acclaim it got on a mechanical level. I don't know enough about the Spider-Man IP to talk about it as an extension of that but the overall smooth, pleasing feel of swinging around and beating up thugs was compelling enough to push me through every speck of major content. Now that it's coming to PC, Energy Hook is bound to suffer in comparison. It's a humble, barebones game, not in itself a flaw but it has led to a few frustrating moments with out-of-place ledges and high speed swings that send the player flying off the small maps. A huge title like Spider-Man doesn't have these issues and the overall experience is far more beginner friendly because of its unobtrusive flow and easier controls. So why write about a six-year-old game with very few reviews? Because, despite its rough elements, Energy Hook needs more attention for what it gets right about the web-slinging conceit now that its glossy, expensive counterpart is making its way to Steam.
As good as the web-slinging in the new Spider-Man is, its just a hair off of perfect in my opinion. Peter's weight and speed will often level out when travelling around the city, meaning his momentum doesn't build and effect the speed of his swings. There's almost a cap on how fast and wild you can fling yourself around because, once Spidey attaches his web to a surface, his downward momentum won't factor in as strongly to the proceeding swing. It's like his fall quickly halts so the player can't go ludicrous speeds and smack into every wall in New York. Energy Hook is far less automated in this regard. It is entirely player-dependent, and getting good means becoming intimately familiar with the angle of your upcoming swing, the charged jump you'll make, what structures are in your way etc. It's more demanding on the newcomer, and I can see some people giving up because its not as easy to learn.
But Energy Hook understands the appeal of this gameplay hook (pardon the pun) better because of how satisfying it is to feel like a heavy subject at the end of a rope, launching into the air and barely making that perfect follow-up swing. The boost especially helps in maintaining control of the player character, as it is propulsive enough to counteract any powerful swings you may make, and when combined with that speed and weightiness can lead to beautiful executions of stunts you weren't sure you could pull off. It also leads to those share of moments where you awkwardly collide with a nearby building and have to reorient yourself, but that's what makes the flawless swings more special. Nearly every swing in Spider-Man is a flawless swing, and it despite it being a very good version of the concept it gets old in a way that Energy Hook doesn't even though there's not really a whole lot of tasks or content in the latter.
So, even though most people will pay full price for Spider-Man when it comes out, I would invite anyone who spent time bumming around in Spider-Man 2 on PS2/Xbox/Gamecube to buy this as a comparison point. You may like it, you may get frustrated by its shortcomings, but I'll proudly call this my webslinging game of choice for its exceptional, uncompromising gamefeel. Spider-Man has the wider appeal but Energy Hook takes its core and exceeds what the huge, talented team at Insomniac could manage because their game had to be more accessible. I'd say that's worth ten bucks.

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