Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Gravity Hook HD ($0.99, Universal) is a high scoring arcade-style game that is more challenging than it may first appear. If there were such a genre for side-scrolling puzzle games, this game would define that genre. Except for one minor detail: it’s vertical.
In Gravity Hook, your robot shoots out a grappling hook towards an orb that you believe is stable enough to propel the robot upward. The problem is that the orb is not attached to anything. As the robot is pulled closer to the orb, the orb is getting pulled closer to the robot. Gameplay is simple enough to get the hang of — just tap on the orb you want to attach the hook to and the robot shoots its hook at that orb. As the robot moves upward, more orbs become visible for you to grab on to. When you select a new orb, the robot releases the hook from the orb it is currently attached to and fires the hook to the new orb.
Sounds simple enough, but there is one slight catch. The closer the robot is to an orb when it gets attached, the faster the robot moves toward it. So fast, in fact, that the robot can use the momentum to fling itself up even higher. The opposite has its ill effects as well: the farther away the robot is from an orb when it gets attached, the slower the robot moves toward it. If the robot happens to be too far away at the time it gets attached, it will fall further away from the orb rather than get closer. You can, however, attempt to recover from choosing an object that was too far away by targeting a closer object. The problem is that your downward momentum is often times too much for the cable to handle. Extending the cable between the robot and the orb too much will cause it to snap. With no cable to cast out, the robot will fall, crashing downward and ending the game.
The orbs themselves have different properties as well. The farther up you go, the more complex the choices get. Toward the bottom of the game, the green orbs you grapple on to are quite benign and easy enough to get the hang of. The blue orbs on the other hand turn into mines as soon as you attach to them. When attached, a timer starts counting down. Detaching from the blue orbs stops the timer. If you stay attached too long and end up bumping into the blue orbs as you get pulled closer to them, the blue orb will explode and destroy the robot in the process.
The gray orbs are chained to one another and will quickly break free. Once free from the other gray orbs, they begin to plummet toward the ground. Staying attached to them for too long and the robot will be pulled to the ground with them. And the red orbs, lets just say you need to avoid those at all costs. With all of the objects the idea is basically the same, don’t stay too attached to any one object for too long. Use your momentum to propel the robot upward to the next collection of orbs.
There is a classic play mode as well. I found the classic mode to be much more challenging than the normal play mode. So you might want to get the hang of things in the HD version before you try out the classic eight-bit version. The first rendition of the game was originally inspired by a program that was use to teach students how to type if you can imagine that. Whichever version you feel more comfortable playing, this is the weekend to grab hold of Gravity Hook.