Written by Daikon
This article was featured in our 2023 March issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.
When you live in a major metropolis, you may be overcome with the desire to dive straight into the heart of an endless forest and never stop running. But actually going outdoors may be tiring, and the wilderness can be a bit frightening. It may be difficult to find somewhere you can safely explore the natural world. If that's the case, then let's enjoy a fun video game.
In that vein, I would like to introduce GRAPPIN, made by Ahmin Hafidi and music by Benoit Malis. As you can tell from the title, it is a game where the player is equipped with a grappling hook to get around 3D platforms from a first-person perspective. The protagonist is surrounded by majestic mountains, which are dotted here and there with grappling points that they can shoot at with the hook. When they do, the player is pulled towards that spot by a wire. The player can use this to survey the land and discover treasures as they aim for the top of the mountains.
When players first load up this game, they can marvel at the simple art style that conveys beautiful yet harsh peaks and cliffs. One look at the breathtaking mountains stirs players' hearts and is more than enough of a reason to want to go exploring. The soundtrack is also fittingly majestic and sweeping, capturing the adventurous spirit of the game.
Throughout the snow-capped peaks, there are brown rocky patches. The player aims for those rocks with the grappling hook, and is then pulled towards that spot with great speed. The rocky patches are easy to aim at, and the player moves directly towards their target without any screen shake or juddering. Even though it is quite fast, it is relatively stress-free and feels like a smooth glide.
One concern that I had before playing this game was the possibility of getting motion sickness. However, once I started playing, I did not personally experience any discomfort. This may be because the graphics are stylized with limited details, and so zipping past the landscapes was not visually overwhelming. I don't know if this will be true for everyone, but in my case at least, it was easy to see where I was going without getting sick from the high speeds. I hope that other players are also able to experience GRAPPIN without any issues.
Although the controls are simple and can be mastered fairly quickly, actually traversing the levels can be quite challenging. Players must utilize the hook not only from a standstill position, but also while freefalling. I think there is a lot of potential to see cool super-plays on YouTube! Players need to react quickly to shoot out the grappling hook at precise points, and doing so will make them feel like action movie stars flying around in wire harnesses.
Players are searching for the hidden artifacts that are tucked away in secret locations, and thus need to investigate every inch of this huge world. To help with this, players can upgrade the grappling hook to let them reach previously inaccessible areas.
Using your upgraded hook allows you to reach distant areas with its rolling green slopes covered in mist. In a lot of other games, these far-off lands would just be background images, but here, the player is encouraged to set out and thoroughly explore them. There is always some new target on the horizon, and you can quickly zip over with your hook to seek new adventures.
Other games might just warp you over or use magic to skip the travel. Or they might make you tediously walk the entire span of the world to get where you are going. But in GRAPPIN, you can feel the wind in your face and watch the land zoom past as you wire your way through forests, up sheer cliffsides, and past snow-covered peaks.
As of this writing, GRAPPIN has not yet released on Steam. (It releases in a few days, on the 24th.) But looking through the screenshots, it appears as though there are even more perilous lands waiting to be explored. Surely, there will also be more terrifying challenges to overcome. And it should go without saying that I heartily welcome all of them. I cannot wait to go exploring GRAPPIN armed with my trusty hook.
What is this innate desire we have to dive deep into the wilds, fly around with the wind in our faces, and wander through unknown forests and mountains? But since it is too dangerous to do any of that in real life, I am happy that I can satisfy those cravings by playing GRAPPIN.
You can get GRAPPIN on Steam and follow it on Twitter @grappingame. Follow Ahmin Hafidi on Twitter @ahminhafidi.