After the news that Super Rare Games had launched a new digital publishing house, we finally have the first game, Grapple Dog, to preview. Initially, there had been some eyebrows raised considering Super Rare Games are known for their physical release of indie titles. This new publishing arm will be all digital and it will be interesting to see where the venture takes the company. As someone who champions indie titles, I say more publishers means more indie games. And although it is a crowded market, Super Rare Games have stated that they ‘only pitch for games we truly, personally love and want to play.’
Grapple Dog is a pixel-art platformer from developer Joseph Gribbin. I have a full review planned for the release on 10th February, but in the meantime I have play tested the first world. Grapple Dog is a classic platformer with a twist, or maybe that should be a swing? You play as Pedro, a dog who has been charged with saving the world after awakening an ancient enemy. I will not spoil the story as I will cover much more of this in my full review. But its typical platform stuff with some added humour and fun characters.
The game starts with a basic training level. Learn to jump and attack blocks as well as the all important grapple mechanic. It feels a little odd at first but once you work out the physics you soon see how excellent it has been implemented. What could have been a gimmick ends up adding a lot to the gameplay. To uncover all the level secrets, of which there are many, you will need to master the grapple. Those familiar with the Worms Ninja Rope will feel right at home. It is rewarding using the skill to find hidden gems spread throughout the levels.
And these gems are pivotal to progression as you cannot unlock the next world without enough of them. Grapple Dog will be tough to complete 100%, I saw that during my first world play through. While I was able to get most of the gems, there were a few that seemed out of reach or beyond my skill in that moment. Grapple Dog seems to be promising lots of tracking back and retrying of levels. This is usually a good sign for an indie title like this. So many before allow you to steamroll your way through without much difficulty. The levels started to get tough as well, although the first boss was quite easy. There are also bonus stages spread throughout that break up the usual levels. These also allow you to pick up some more vital gems.
Although I have only played for an hour and a half, Grapple Dog feels decent. The first world is exciting and I was enjoying myself. I will hold further judgement for my full review but the graphics are great, the story is fun, if a little basic, and the music is excellent. Another aspect I found positive was the fact I always felt in control. Mix this in with the tough platforming action, that will make you think, and Grapple Dog is shaping up nicely. It also bodes well to being a fine first release for Super Rare Games and their line of digital indie titles.