Hook Champ is exactly what all iPhone games should be like; simple to play, charming to look at and catering to both a casual and hardcore interest at once. Quite simply, it’s one of our favourite games to have appeared on the App Store ever.
The concept is simple; you’re an Indiana Jones wannabe who ventures down into some caverns in pursuit of treasure, with nought but his trusty whip grappling hook to rely on. Pursued by angry ghosts through the booby-trapped mazes, you have to swing your way through the tombs as fast as possible – collecting treasure on the way.
It’s not the most ambitious of concepts admittedly, but as we said before, Hook Champ’s success lies in how simple it is. All you have to do is touch where you want to attach your hook to and you’ll swing there, reeling in slowly. Getting the rhythm and aiming right is a bit tricky obviously, especially when destructable platforms and spring traps come into play – but it’s well balanced at all times.
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Between levels you can visit the shop to upgrade your gear and customise your appearance, but it’s the core mechanic of swinging through the levels that serves as the main draw for the game. The simple thrill of shooting out a rope just before you sink into a lava flow and being whipped up and flung through a series of crumbling walls makes for a simple and addictive game.
The cutesy pixel-art pulls it all together into something hugely enjoyable too, with Hook Champ harking back to the likes of Rick Dangerous in all the right ways.
Verdict: One of our favourite iPhone games, Hook Champ is a must-buy.
There’s now two versions of Kento Cho’s classic abstract schm-up on the AppStore. One costs money, while the other is free and supposedly a mite more optimised over the premium version, even though they’re identical content wise. Noiz2sa Free is, as you might have guessed, the free one.
The game controls like most other vertical shooters on the iPhone, with you piloting your ship around with your fingertip and firing being constant whenever you touch the screen. Noiz2sa Free does spice things up with some multi-touch support that lets you direct your bullets, but mostly that’s as complex as it gets.
As we mentioned before, Noiz2sa is a completely abstract game. There’s no identifiable enemies or allies, no landscape or story – just a stream of geometric objects for you to destroy across the ten levels. When that’s done you can advance to the four endless levels, but there’s still no semblance of story or reason here.
Now, we may be in the minority here, but we’ve never really seen the appeal of the Noiz2sa and quite how it’s managed to attain such an enduring popularity since the original PC release we’re not sure. The gameplay, while fast-paced, is pretty shallow and the purposelessness of the abstractions makes the whole thing feel a bit…dull, to be honest.
Still, if you’re a fan of the game or just after a free vertical shooter with a twist then Noiz2sa Free is hard to turn down. It is free, afterall.
Verdict: Competent; that’s the word we’d use to describe Noiz2sa. It works, but it’s hardly enthralling.