Developer: Tree Interactive
Publisher: Tree Interactive
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 28/08/2019
Price: £16.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
When someone asks you about the fighting genre of games, there’s usually one that immediately pops into your mind. For me, it’s Super Smash Bros. I feel like strangely fighting is never anyone’s favourite genre, but we all enjoy them and have those that bring back memories of playing with friends or family. That’s what pulled me into Hookbots, craving an exciting new fighting game, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Playing as a bot with a retractable hook, you are placed in a platformed arena with the intent of destroying your enemies. As well as using your hook to defeat other bots, hitting them three times until they burst into a pile of scrap, you can also use it to navigate around the map. There are many controls for you to pick up as well as moving and jumping; dash to stun enemies, dodge to avoid attacks, use your ultimate, and use items found in boxes.
Trying to remember all of these buttons did take me a couple of rounds to get used to, particularly as the game is so fast-paced. Enemy bots will be swinging across the map on their hooks, or they will be knocking you flying. However, this element is what enhances the competitive spirit of the game! There are three ways to play:
Within solo play, there are three modes for you to try out. The campaign takes you on a series of stages, battling against different bots and different game modes. Some will be free for all, and some will be team games. You could be up against 20 enemies, or one giant bot. The variety definitely keeps the campaign fresh, as I feel in a lot of party or fighting games, the solo mode can be a little lacklustre.
Though I enjoyed the concept of the campaign, there was the issue of not being able to save your progress. If you quit or didn’t press continue after failing a stage within ten seconds, you would have to start from scratch. However, even on the easiest difficulty, some stages could be quite challenging or you could fail through no fault of your own.
For example, in the sports game modes like football and basketball, the AI on your team would often score own goals or hit you out of the way. If I’ve already been playing for 45 minutes and have to retry one of these stages over and over, I’m going to want to take a break. But this, unfortunately, forfeits my progress. Not everyone will have the time to finish the campaign in one sitting.
Besides the campaign, there is a challenge mode where you are set certain tasks such as scoring goals in football under a certain time limit or seeing how quickly you can defeat an army of dog robots. There aren’t an awful lot of challenges, but each one has an easy, medium and hard goal to achieve. There is then a tutorial mode, which I’d recommend if you want to get to grips with all the controls before playing.
Quickplay allows you to jump right into the action with one round, choosing the game mode alongside the rules like the time limit, any mutators such as an unlimited special attack, and item probability. Choose your character, skin and taunt and you’re good to go, playing either couch co-op or against AI. It’s a great game mode for if you don’t know how much time you’ve got to play, and if you want to customise the match to your heart’s content.
I was really impressed by the number of game modes and how imaginative they were. As well as all of the sport ones, there are ones which utilise the rings which you swing off such as colour the rings, where you have to secure as many rings in your colour as you can. Some modes can be fairly similar, but there’s enough of a variety to keep you from boredom.
Last but definitely not least, is party mode. In this mode, you can choose the game length, what game modes are included and what mutators. This allows you to play game mode after game mode without stopping like quick play, providing the perfect party experience. It is by far my favourite out of all the modes, though it’s a shame there isn’t online play, as this would raise the game to the next level for me.
No matter if you’re playing solo play, quick play, or party, the more you play, the more you unlock. You can unlock things such as game modes, skins for the bots, and items to create your own custom bot. This gives you an even more of an incentive to keep playing the game to experience the new modes, a huge part of the replayability aspect.
Speaking of the bots, I really loved all their designs along with the overall visuals of the game. I loved the detail on the different armour and the character design, which had different themes such as a dinosaur or a scuba diver. The maps were well designed with beautiful hand-painted backgrounds, and each map was styled differently.
Some had environmental hazards such as wind or giant anchors dropping to crush you from the sky, and others had falling platforms. I never got the sense of it being repetitive due to this as well as the abundance of game modes, which is why you could return to this game time after time. Pair this with a techno soundtrack to complement the fast-paced nature of the game, the sounds of metal hitting metal and robot parts whirring, and it really fit the robot theme of the game.
Overall, this is a perfect couch co-op party game, but I can’t help but see the potential in online play and want to be able to save the campaign. However, it takes all the great aspects of a fighting game and adds its own spin with the use of hooks and interesting game modes!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Hookbots from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/hookbots/9pcs36fcpw1w?activetab=pivot:overviewtab
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