Happion Labs, the creators of Energy Hook, was founded by Jamie Fristrom, who is an ex employee of Treyarch|Activision. Deciding to dream independently, he decided that making indie games on his lonesome was the way to continue adding to his already impressive résumé. Maybe he originally thought that producing indie video games was easy, if you had a head full of great ideas and talent to boot. If Energy Hook is his product of that thought, then he was wrong on both counts.
Energy Hook is just about the worst game I have ever played. You just swing around. That is it. Want an interesting storyline? Avoid Energy Hook. Want intriguing characters? Avoid Energy Hook. Want a well made game? Avoid Energy Hook. Want to waste your time and money? Energy Hook is the right purchase for you. Jamie, of Happion Labs, cites that his greatest achievement during his twenty-something career in the industry, is: ‘inventing the dynamic, physical swinging system in Spider-Man 2.’ People lapped up that swinging system like baby birds, giving the game rave reviews and saying it was great fun. Maybe it is because Spider-Man 2 came out on PlayStation 2, or maybe it is because there were more developers on the team, but something drastic happened between Spider-Man 2 and Energy Hook… something terrible. Maybe the praise just got to Jamie’s head and he decided that having a whole game dedicated to just swinging around was a great idea. I do not know what happened, but Energy Hook is just, overall, bad.
The game is basically just you trying to pull off ‘stylish’ stunts as you swing around, doing whatever the game tells you to do. I put stylish in quotation marks, because what I know stylish to mean and what the game thinks it means are apparently two different things. There are many games out there that make stunts look cool, although the ones that come to my mind include variations of a board, but we know it can be done. With tweaking and better camera angles, the stunts of Energy Hook would probably look stylish, they just do not come across that way on the screen.
Nondescript environments dominate your view, with graphics better suited for the PS2, but I will say that the sky is always a relief to look at in the game. Maybe most of the games time in development was dominated by making the sky look good. If so, achievement unlocked. But saying that, I personally was just getting glimpses of the sky, before the camera went wild, pulling itself in various different directions in the space of a few seconds. You will be fighting with your analogue stick the whole time, trying to get the right view for you, but that itself should be a stunt.
The game does reward you for your achievements as you play through the environments, all of which have a different artistic direction, which allow you to unlock abilities. These make the stunts a little easier, but not by much. As you complete achievements, you can add your name to leaderboard’s, but why you would want your name emblazoned on this games leaderboard is beyond me.
Energy Hook had so much potential. I really wanted this game to be good, because I feel like Jamie over at Happion Labs loved his swinging creation so much, and knowing others did too, just thought ‘what could be better than a game just dedicated to that?’ Sadly, many things are, including saving your money to purchase another, better game. Give this one a miss.
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