Hookbots has grappling hooks, enough said – First Sip Review

Hookbots is a robot based platform-fighter game, select your robot and fight it out in multiple game modes. Developed and published by Tree Interactive.

Grappling Hook in HookBots Game Review
There will be oil.

Story

No real story on this one. As Hookbots is a party game brawler there’s no real story to speak of. A group of robots has to fight it out because that’s what the people want.

Fun Local Multiplayer in HookBots Game Review
Takes Skill for a Double Kill.

Graphics

Hookbots uses a colorful cartoon style. The characters have their own personalities, despite all being robots. Everything from an almost Zenyatta (from Overwatch) robotic monk, to a robotic dinosaur (T-Rex specifically). Each robot has a distinct design and all of them are great to look at.

The levels in Hookbots are similarly well designed. From a castle to a forest, none of the levels really break new ground but they all fit in exceptionally well. Most levels have a very clear and open space to play in, with a background that acts as an actual background. By this, I mean that the backgrounds have stuff happening but they never draw too much focus from the match. Levels will also contain platforms and colored rings for your robots to hook onto. The platforms and rings are all very obvious so it is easy to tell what you can and can’t hook onto even in the heat of battle.

Dynamic, cute, cool, bright and, fun are just a few of the terms I would use to describe Hookbots visuals. They also remind me of another indie robot game series, Image and Form’s Steamworld games, which is no bad thing.

Play against the computer in HookBots Game
One bot to fight them all.

Sound

Clanking, you will hear a lot of metallic clanking. As well as the swish noise from your grappling hook and some fairly muted explosion noises. Pretty much what you would expect from cartoonish robots beating the oil out of each other. Again everything fits well, nothing feels out of place, and with the amount of stuff happening there’s no real chance for any noise to get too obnoxious.

Music in the game is varied. Mostly you’ll be listening to upbeat and fun tracks that match up with the action on the screen. Much like the visuals in the game the music is bright, bubbly and fun. Nothing too heady, after all, it’s a game where a robot knight can fight a robot deep-sea explorer. Serious was never the name of the game.

Customisation in HookBots Game
Make your own nightmare robot.

Gameplay

Hookbots has a variety of different modes to unlock and play with, I’ll split them into single and multiplayer.

Single Player

For solo play, you have two main options, campaign, and challenges. There is also a tutorial mode that teaches you the basics of the game and activates when you first start it up. The tutorial outlines the basics that will be used in different modes. You have movement, jumping, double jumping, the grappling hook, items that you can pick up, a dodge, a taunt, and each character has a super move. The grappling hook works as both a movement tool and as a weapon. You can hook on to the platforms and rings mentioned earlier to navigate the stages, and you can use it to smack other robots. Items come in boxes that need to be smacked to be opened (in most modes) and contain anything from a shield or sword to an attachment for your grappling hook or a tempory mech suit for your robot.

The objective changes between modes. Challenges are specific tasks you can try to beat such as surviving an endless wave of dogbots until a timer runs down. Reaching a certain platform before the timer runs out. Collecting a certain amount of coins, etc. Completing the challenges unlocks harder versions (3 difficulties for each), and provides you with scrap to unlock new things.

The other solo mode is Campaign, this is very similar to the Adventure mode in Super Smash Brothers. Pick a robot and then you will be put through a series of trials from a regular fight to giant enemies to volleyball. Eventually culminating in a boss fight against 3 super robots.

Multiplayer

Hookbots is at its core a party game, much like the aforementioned Super Smash Bros. Currently the game is set up for only local multiplayer, however, with the Steam Remote Play option available in the current Steam Beta client this can be overcome.

Party matches will pit between 2 and 4 robots against each other in a variety of modes. Currently there are 14 game modes, however, some of these will need to be unlocked by earning scrap from playing. Most of the game modes appear in the single-player campaign, as well as setting certain rules like unlimited Super (normally a robot needs to make three successful attacks to earn a single use of the super). Again these game modes are varied, everything from team battles and free for alls to volleyball and a soccer-like game.

AI bots can be used to round out the players if required which also makes party mode the closest thing to a practice mode available. This is helpful because each robot has its own super with its own effect so learning which one works for you will go a long way.

HookBots Game Review Dino
T Rex wrecks the competition.

Overall

Hookbots is very obviously inspired by the Smash Bros series, from the campaign mode to the end credits being a playable mini-game where you can smash the words for points. Being inspired by another game is by no means a bad thing, but a game needs to be able to stand on its own and do something new. Hookbots achieves this, with mechanics I have not seen in one of these party games before such as most attacks breaking a piece off of a robot which can be picked back up if they get to it in time. And the three successful strikes to charge the super move I mentioned.

With the double jumps and grapple points all around the levels, there is always a chance to turn things around and pull off some crazy stunts. The game also boasts 99 ways to customize your robot. Want a dinosaur head, knight arms and bone legs, you can do that. Really like one character’s design and another’s super? Customize a bot that is the best of both worlds.

Hookbots is fast, frenetic and fun. For a party game, what else could you ask for?

In Coffee Terms

Hookbots is like a pot of black coffee, its full of energy and tastes good. But it’s better to share it with friends. And as it is just a pot of black coffee when you pour it out for everyone they can add sugar, milk or even syrups to taste. Tensions may rise and fights may break out when you’ve had a few too many mugs, but at the end of the day you’ll enjoy the taste and have fun and that’s what really matters.

What’ve I been doing this week?

I’ve been having a lot of fun streaming Yuppie Psycho for Halloween on my twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/tgb_sirhcandar0n and posting loads of posts on Sip check out my review of Rime which is a super beautiful but mysterious puzzle platformer:
https://sipreadrepeat.com/2019/10/29/first-sip-rime-review/

Hookbots Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/treegames
Website: https://www.hookbots.com/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/668650/Hookbots/

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