Grapple Gum ($1.99) by Ali Mehrez is a slingshot-style action platformer that is both challenging and delightfully charming. If you enjoyed other games like Pigeon Wings and Super Samurai Rampage, chances are high that you'll love what Grapple Gum has to offer.
I'm going through a lot right now, so I've found a lot of peace in just sitting back and playing video games as of late. It's helpful in taking my mind off of things, even just a little bit, so I appreciate having all of my games right now. Though I have most of the consoles that matter (Nintendo Switch, 3DS, and PlayStation 4), I still find most of my gaming time spent on my iPhone just because I have it with me at all times.
Usually I like to unwind with stimulating puzzles, but every so often I just want something frantic and action-packed. When I saw Grapple Gum trailers a few weeks ago, I knew that this was something special and I had to get my hands on it. Now that it's out, I can say that it doesn't disappoint.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Grapple Gum is stunningly gorgeous with a completely unique aesthetic. It features doodle-style artwork, similar to the days of Doodle Jump. Everything is rendered in 2D, but with the blurred graph paper background, the game carries a pseudo-3D effect. In the foreground, you have your pink gum ball character, as well as a ton of floating balloons and enemy doodles that are out to get you.
Grapple Gum uses a color palette full of bright and vibrant colors that contrast nicely with the off-white background of graph paper. Even the leaderboards have a hand-drawn pencil-on-paper design that I am in love with. Animations are buttery smooth and fluid, so I had no issues with lag on my iPhone 7. The game also has a quirky soundtrack that is fun to listen to as you play, as well as bubbly sound effects. The developer did an excellent job with Grapple Gum's visual and audio design, because it's completely immersive.
Grapple Gum is a roguelike arcade platformer shooter, and there are 10 levels to get through. While that doesn't sound like much, the game is pretty difficult, especially when you take into account the gigantic bosses that await you.
In each level, your goal is to collect the three stars that are scattered around the level, before facing off against a boss. While each stage can be pretty big, there's a compass indicator that tells you the direction you should be going, as well as the distance between you and the star or boss.
After each boss fight, the game presents you with two potential upgrades. You must choose one before you move on. These upgrades are always randomly generated, so you may not get the same ones after each level.
The controls in Grapple Gum are simple and intuitive, clearly designed for touch screens. Since you're controlling a sticky pink piece of gum, your main mode of transportation is to grapple on to the floating balloons. To do this, just tap on the balloon you want to go to, and your gum will extend a sticky arm out and hold on to it, pulling you towards it. You can also pull back on your gum to fling it in the opposite direction, similar to Angry Birds. When enemies show up, just tap on them to target and shoot. While the controls are pretty straightforward, things do get hectic, so juggling everything can be rather challenging in later stages.
While you start out with a basic gun in the beginning, there's six different weapons that you can acquire to help you in battle. There's a weapon that shoots explosive bullets, another that shoots in a three bullet spread, and more. Each weapon type has upgraded versions too, so you'll want to upgrade your weapon of choice if you can. Other upgrades include increased fire rate, longer range for shots, and more health.
As you collect stars and defeat enemies, you'll accrue money. While you usually can only choose one free upgrade between stages, you can get both if you have enough money (at least 1000). It's best to get both if they're of use to you when you have enough money, because otherwise the money is wasted.
Once your gum is out of health, the game ends. You'll see your stats, including how many enemies you killed, bosses you defeated, bullets fired, money acquired, and how long you managed to survive. The time you last becomes your score, and is what the game uses for leaderboard rankings. So the longer you last in a game, the better.
Grapple Gum is an intense and action-packed arcade action platformer shooter that you're bound to get stuck to because it's so good.
Grapple Gum has many good things going for it. The graphics are distinctive and serve up great eye candy thanks to the vivid colors. The music is also downright satisfying, so make sure to turn the volume up for this one. Controls are simple enough, but do take some practice to truly master. While the core mechanics seem easy at first, the pace of things picks up quickly and then it's quite a frantic, chaos-filled action game. Even though there is only one mode, it's a fun and challenging high-score chaser that's hard to put down.
Grapple Gum is a great game overall, but that's not to say that it doesn't have any flaws. The control scheme works decently overall, but sometimes I end up shooting my weapon instead of hooking onto a balloon as I was originally trying to do. This leads to me falling and scrambling to get back on my feet. I'm not sure how this can be fixed, but I felt that it should be pointed out.
I've been looking forward to Grapple Gum for a while now, and I'm glad that it's finally arrived. The game is beautiful with the quirky hand-drawn doodle art style, and the audio is a fantastic touch. While it looks like an easy game, Grapple Gum is rather challenging, and should satisfy anyone's sweet tooth craving for an action-packed platformer shooter.
I highly recommend grabbing Grapple Gum if you want an physics-based action platformer that isn't like anything else you've played before. Grapple Gum is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $1.99.