REVIEW: Cyber Hook

Oct
11

REVIEW: Cyber Hook

The ultimate synthwave platformer

Releasing: Steam
Type: Singleplayer
Genre: Platform
Developer: Blazing Stick
Publisher: Graffiti Games
Release Date: 24 Sep, 2020

Overview

Cyber Hook is a *really fast* platforming game where you are stuck in a cyberworld taken directly from the synthwave artistic direction. In order to free yourself from this cyber prison, you have to gather numerous crystals, locked behind different levels’ time scores. Well, while the story isn’t that much of a surprise, who does need one when the gameplay is all about jumping, hooking and shooting obstacles, while also going *fast*?

Time Warp

Cyber Hook isn’t a terribly complex game. In fact, it’s pretty simple: get from the start to the end of the level in the least time possible. It has few commands, the kinds of blocks that compose the different levels can be counted on the fingers of two hands and, when the tutorial finishes, you literally have seen all the game has to offer. And that’s what great about this game: it doesn’t need to add new weird mechanics throughout the game just to keep you engaged. It just needs increasingly difficult levels in which you can fly from start to finish at 130km/h using the game’s incredibly fluid controls.

The rules are pretty simple: you grapple to blue and purple blocks, shoot the green ones and avoid touching purple and red ones. The end.

Cyber Hook offers a few mechanics to traverse its levels in the least time possible: running increases your speed and pushes you to the limit, but isn’t always possible, and in a lot of levels you won’t even touch the ground. When the latter happens, you have your trusted hook, that you can use to swing around objects, increasing your speed or correcting your trajectory mid-air. Talking of mid-air, you can double jump, and this ability resets not only every time you touch the ground, but also when you hook into something. When you need to make minor adjustments or hook into that particularly small block, you can warp time for some seconds and even get a little boost on the hook’s range. Sometimes green blocks can get in your way: these can -and will- block your path, but you can shoot them down by firing projectiles from your finger.

It’s All about Time

In Cyber Hook it’s all about time: you get crystals for getting the best time in each level (there are even global leaderboards if you’re into that) and, thus, you have to precisely measure every turn, jump and hook you make… or you can get creative! Getting the best time isn’t always about sheer speed, but also thinking outside the box: hooking outside a tunnel could be way faster than running inside it, while going through a deadly obstacles course isn’t always the best way, maybe if I get enough speed I can reach that blue block with my hook…

A sidenote on time warp: while it may seem a game-breaking feature (the ability to slow time in time trial races would be incredibly strong), it’s actually something you really don’t want to abuse. It can be used for a bunch of seconds (which is a lot, actually) and can only be used again after a short recharge time, but slowing down time doesn’t also slow down the clock. This means that when you abuse time warp, you’re actually losing time. Thus, it’s useful for adjusting your aim and whatnot, but you really don’t want to use it too much, otherwise you’ll be too slow..

Graphics are simple, but they do their job at 60 rock-steady fps.

Graphically there’s really nothing to say: the graphics are simple yet appealing (I love the style) and, thanks to their simplicity, the game runs butter-smooth on all occasions. The only real complaint I have is that some levels have rather frustrating designs, which are either unnecessarily convoluted or have weird designs that really don’t synergize with the game’s features.

Verdict

Cyber Hook is a brilliant game. Its simpleness means that it can be picked up by anyone right away, but its high speed and precise shots also mean that it takes time to master it. The only reason I won’t give it an AUTOSAVE is because of some of its levels, but I really recommend the game, especially for its low price-point. Plus, aren’t you convinced by this review yet? The Steam page of the game also has a downloadable demo!

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