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Energy Hook Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . I like the idea of merging grappling hooks and extreme sports, but Energy Hook goes about it in all the wrong ways. This type of game lives and dies based on the gameplay, and nothing about this game felt natural. Even after hours of honing my skills, most of my high scores ended up coming from dumb luck. The idea of swinging through the city like Spider-Man sounds like a dream come true, but the execution of this game is a real nightmare. Rating: 10%
Energy Hook
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  • Review Score:

  • D-
These days we laugh at those early inventors who risked their lives in the pursuit of making a flying machine. But while their contraptions may be silly by today's standard, we need pioneers who aren't afraid to crash a few times to show the rest of us what not to do. I thought a lot about those early inventors while playing Energy Hook. Instead of feeling like I was in control of an expertly-crafted machine, this brand new PlayStation 4 game felt more like I was steering experimental technology straight into the ground.

By combining elements from both Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Spider-Man, Energy Hook is the kind of extreme sports game Acclaim would have released in the late 1990s. You take control of a character with a futuristic grappling hook. It's the type of thing that will allow you to swing through six unique stages while pulling off daring mid-air tricks.


There are no enemies to fight or bosses to hook, because this is a fairly straight-forward extreme sports game filled with different types of racing events. A lot of the missions will have you speeding across the stage, swinging through hoops, tricking off of buildings and trying to get as high up into the air as you can. Complete enough of these events and you'll open up a gate to the next stage, where you'll do it all over again.

This should have been a slam dunk for me, since I'm already a big fan of grappling hooks and something of an extreme sports apologist. I'm the person that enjoyed Capcom's Bionic Commando reboot despite the silly ending. When every game at E3 showed off some sort of grappling hook, I squealed with excitement. I jumped into Energy Hook ready to take my grappling prowess to the next level. Boy was I disappointed.

I'm not going to mince words here; Energy Hook is almost unplayable in its current state. It's not just one or two things, but how everything works against the game's best interest. A simple thing like walking a straight line is made practically impossible thanks to the squirrely handling, and you never know when the titular hook is going to attach itself to something useful. Even after putting several hours into the excruciating experience, I still couldn't land properly or run up walls to save my life.

Energy Hook (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Some of the control issues could have been fixed by adding more precision and moves that made landing easy. Being able to grapple to a ledge should be simple, but here you might as well be trying to land a Boeing 747 without any training. This is the type of thing every other game with a grappling hook has, but Energy Hook seems intent on making everything needlessly difficult.

You can see this not just in the way the game plays, but also how the events are handled. Because many of the stages take place high above the ground, there are a lot of opportunities to accidentally fall to your death. Normally this would be fine, but for whatever reason, falling mid-race will reset the player in a completely different part of the stage. It's bad enough that you're losing time because of the fall, but it's never clear where you're supposed to go next. If you fall, you might as well restart from the beginning.

Every part of this game is made worse by the overly sensitive camera controls and inconsistent frame rate. The game wants you to zip around the stages with reckless abandon, but the performance makes that virtually impossible. I felt like I was going to get motion sickness in the first few minutes, and even after adjusting the settings, I still felt a little queasy when the camera started flailing about uncontrollably.

Energy Hook (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It's a shame that the gameplay doesn't come together, because the stages in Energy Hook are large and full of objects to trick off of. Sure, most of the visuals are basic and a little hard to look at, but stages like New Atlantis and Sky Gardens look good. The six stages are dramatically different, and I can see the potential in each of them. Sadly, the stage designs are undercut by the questionable gameplay.

I like the idea of merging grappling hooks and extreme sports, but Energy Hook goes about it in all the wrong ways. This type of game lives and dies based on the gameplay, and nothing about this game felt natural. Even after hours of honing my skills, most of my high scores ended up coming from dumb luck. The idea of swinging through the city like Spider-Man sounds like a dream come true, but the execution of this game is a real nightmare.
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