Last year, when BeverTap Games’ Mike Meade and Michael Gaughen launched their first iOS game, Mikey Shorts, it quickly established itself as the new gold standard for iOS speed run titles.
With its smooth and responsive controls, retro-style graphics and cute, customizable, crazy hat-wearing title character, this unassuming little game went on to do big things and found itself a permanent place on many an iOS device. So how do you follow up such an excellent debut? Add a grappling hook and call it Mikey Hooks.
To be fair, there are several other tweaks and changes, but for this sequel, the biggest change is that now the titular Mikey has an awesome new grappling hook at his disposal and the gameplay is even better for it. Besides the obvious fun factor, the hook adds a whole new element of strategy, opening up aerial based pathways as well as the usual ground-based enemy-infested ones that require a good deal of jumping and sliding. This means that finding the most optimal (and speediest) path through any given level will take some doing, requiring a good deal more strategy coupled with trial and error and a little luck.
The hooking mechanic itself is silky smooth, with just a single tap and hold on the jump button, Mikey attaches himself to the nearest hook point. Simply let go of the jump button to detach from the hook. This motion can be repeated in mid-air to unleash Mikey’s inner Tarzan and chain swings together to traverse across the screen. The hook can only be used is special, clearly marked areas of the level, but they are plentiful.
Mikey Hooks also adds a new element of danger, for unlike in its predecessor, Mikey is now vulnerable to attack by the level-dwelling enemies who can hurt him and steal his life. So it is no longer just a matter of finishing levels (quickly or not), you must also be careful not to get hit too many times or run into too many spiked walls, less you’ll have to start all over. Being able to be hurt and stunned does at times kill the momentum and flow of the game, but it also makes it that much more satisfying when you do have a (nearly) flawless run, avoiding danger and maintaining forward momentum.
Mikey fans will be happy to hear that the costume shop returns with loads of fun new heads, eyes, faces (and now hooks) to customize Mikey, including some favorites from Mikey Shorts and all-new cameo hats from other indie iOS games like a Polymer, Velocispider, Bean’s Quest, iBlast Moki and many, many more.
There is a single (completely optional) IAP available for 99¢ which unlocks a coin doubler, coin magnet, extra hearts and retro-style graphics, all of which can be toggled on and off individually at will. A big thank your for the game’s cloud save option, which has worked flawlessly to be able to switch back and forth between my devices.
Mikey Hooks takes everything you loved about the original and adds an exciting new game mechanic that makes the speed running with Mikey, even more fun and challenging to play. Easily a must-have title for iOS gamers, for you will no doubt find yourself returning to it often as you try to shave valuable seconds off your times and move up the leaderboards in both the story and race modes. I can’t speak for Mikey…but this reviewer most definitely ‘LIKES IT’!