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Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Hooked

Product: Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape | Developer: Secret Base | Publisher: Secret Base | Format: iPhone | Genre: Endless running, Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
 
Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape iPhone, thumbnail 1
Endless climbers are so 2009 - a doddering legacy of early-days App Store when ‘depth’ was a dirty word and ‘doodle’ was the only one that mattered. So how do you freshen up a stagnant genre? 2009, meet 1989.

Yep, Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape might be an endless climber, but it’s also a canny grab bag of everything that made mid-'80s gaming great.

Beyond its lovely retro veneer - beneath its pin-sharp pixel-art and hummable chip-tunes - Tobe’s classic arcade influences add considerable depth to the tired ever-upward formula.

Each daredevil climb is fraught with old skool pitfalls - crumbling blocks, spring-loaded ledges, even stomp-able enemies - all fiendishly deployed to scupper your ascent. As the screen scrolls ever faster, success is as much a matter of quick wits as it is precision platforming.

Stop, Hammer Time?

Whatever its name might suggest, there’s more to Tobe than a grappling hook. Four distinct, character-specific play styles (which we’re reluctant to spoil) bring refreshing new dynamics to the game, and new skills to master.

However you choose to play, though, you’re ultimately vying for leaderboard space, and Tobe slings a nifty combo multiplier into the frantic score attack mix.

String ledge hopping with enemy bopping and your points continue to climb, meaning there’s real reward for perfecting each different style of play.

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie

As if its frantically compulsive rhythm wasn’t enough, Tobe constantly goads you on with a generous helping of unlockables.

Fulfill certain criteria and you’ll earn new skins to keep your eyes and ears interested, as well as a huge array of items to equip. Some simply offer assistance while others twist the varied playing style even further.

We’ve only one small complaint and that’s Tobe’s minuscule control layout. For obvious reasons, you’re stuck playing in portrait mode, meaning you’re going to have to get used to that uncomfortable claw-like grip.

Crab hands aside, there’s a lot to love about Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape. Its retro-inspired platform focus and compulsive reward structure help shake the dust off an aging genre. As far as endless climbers go, things are looking up.
 
Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 6 March 2012
A tightly paced, furiously addictive endless climber that plunders those arcade classics for more than just rose-tinted window dressing
 
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