Grapple Dog is a bright, fun, adventure across islands in order to stop a robotic apocalypse. You take on the protagonist, Pablo, who unfortunately loses his way at the beginning of the story. We are quickly introduced to our crew of fellow explorers and shown what exactly it is that we are fighting for. Pablo, not really knowing the power he’s unlocked, is quick to understand that he is the one that has to stop this overwhelming enemy. Equipt with a recently discovered grappling hook – the game gets its name and we set sail to save the world.
Despite it’s colorful and bold art style which makes you think it might be a little out of your age range, Grapple Dog is definitely a challenging title. As you progress through several new realms and explore your own abilities, the difficulty increases too. Games with a grappling mechanic usually end up resulting in finding extremely easy routes out of difficult situations. But even though the game is titled after this mechanic, it’s use is very limited. Areas marked out prominently in blue are the areas you can use to grapple, but it very much feels like this mechanic is only utilized in boss battles.
Boss battles and bonus levels
The boss battles are generously scattered across each of the maps you explore, and once again mirror the increasing difficulty much like the core gameplay. You face off against one main nemesis which is introduced during the tutorial of Grapple Dog. And as you get more powerful – so do they. The boss battles are genuinely really fun but that doesn’t mean they aren’t frustratingly challenging at times. The game also comes with a series of bonus levels, given you do well. They feel almost like mini games and are a refreshing change of pace after fighting your way through a level. From collecting various fruits to fighting every enemy in sight, the better you do the better the benefits.
Grapple Dog also comes with a fast, joyful soundtrack to accompany it’s gameplay. Which, I’ll admit, feels a little deafening at the beginning. Luckily you can adjust the game’s sound settings very easily. But the soundtrack does get repetitive and annoying after a while. So it might be worth just turning it off before you find yourself grinding your teeth and wishing you’d never begun the game in the first place. It doesn’t change between levels. Which is a shame as there would be some great opportunities for different soundscapes given the vast landscapes you discover along the way.
All in all, Grapple Dog is an extremely fun experience. It’s got a solid story and definitely has challenging aspects to keep you coming back. The only real downside is the soundtrack which even then isn’t really enough to say this game isn’t worth playing. It gives off the same energy as an old school Gameboy title, with it’s bold and brash character design. It’s worth playing for anyone who needs to satisfy the needs to play a platform game with a different mechanic rather than rinsing another Mario title.