“Grapple Bear! Grapple Bear, does whatever a Grapple Bear does! Can he swing from a rope? Yes he can. Grapple Bear.”
First of all, we have to thank the developer, Dani Prokisch, for sending us a code to play the game pre-release and share our opinion on it.
Grapple Bear started life at the 2018 GMTK 48 hour game jam and now it’s getting a full release with new content and new levels.
Grapple Bear is a fast-paced physics-based platformer with hand-drawn graphics. It’s easy to play and you will get the hang of it in minutes, but mastering it is a completely different story. You’re only ever tasked with getting to the flagpole at the end of the level, simple enough… For the first few levels.
As mentioned, the gameplay is simple. You have a grappling hook and you need to get to the flagpole.
The first few levels are there to teach you the mechanics, you’ll go through them very quickly, but as soon as you’re done with them the game puts you to the test.
You have to fly between spiky vines, grapple to rocks and use their movement to add inertia to your swing, glide just above the water and time your grapples to get to the end of the level.
Besides the flagpole, you end up replaying the levels because you always feel like you could save a second or two off from your time. The game even pushes you towards that. When you replay a level you race the ghost of your best time on that level.
It adds to the pressure when you can see your ghost falling behind or miss timing a grapple and seeing the ghost fly past you.
There are no ads and level resets are quick which is both good and bad for stress levels. It’s good if you make a stupid mistake and you want to get right back into it, on the other hand if you’re stuck on a level you start to feel taunted by the game (Dani Prokisch, when you read this, please give us a hint for the 23rd level, I just can’t finish that roundabout when going at Mach 5).
It’s fast-paced, fun, challenging, and has great replay value, so gameplay wise it’s amazing and I couldn’t ask for more.
When I was told that the entire game is hand drawn, it was more than enough for me to fall in love with it. You have to appreciate the amount of time and patience it takes to do that.
The game looks amazing and the gameplay is really smooth even when you’re flying across the screen.
There isn’t too much audio, but it’s not a minus in my opinion. The game isn’t mute, there’s enough noise in the background to add to the gameplay. Besides, you won’t be able to focus on the sound at all while you’re slingshotting across the levels and panicking as you get close to the spikes.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the developer. One visit to his YouTube channel and you will see his passion for game development. You can follow his dev blogs for updates on the game, to see the creating process and get an idea on what it’s like to make a game, not just play it.
My hopes are pretty high for the future of Grapple Bear, it has great potential and I’ll definitely be checking on it regularly.
If we disregard the 23rd level I really enjoyed the game. I love the hand-drawn graphics (yeah, yeah, Nikola always talks about graphics, sue me), the game is really smooth and the controls are responsive.
Again, if we disregard trying to do a perfect circle at Mach 5, I can’t say anything against the game. Maybe the fact that the physics can be a bit wonky, but in my experience with Unity, it’s not the developer’s fault.
The developer is taking his time on making sure that the game is well made and polished so that it will be an enjoyable experience for players. I would wholeheartedly recommend this game.
It will be available on Android, Windows and you can preorder it on iOS.