Cyber Hook review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Graffiti Games
Developer: Blazing Stick
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

As I played Cyber Hook, I was reminded of two games: Glyph, and Energy Hook.

Given that neither of those games are particularly well-known — and in the case of Energy Hook, it came and went without making any waves half a decade ago — I know that those aren’t exactly the most helpful comparisons. (If it helps, here’s my review of Glyph, and here’s my review of Energy Hook.) Still, both are highly relevant to my feelings on Cyber Hook.

In the case of Cyber Hook and Energy Hook, the comparisons are obvious: both are hook-based swinging games that owe a pretty huge debt to Spider-Man. Both, however, also show that there’s a reason why Spider-Man did more than swing around, because that gets very boring after awhile.

To be sure, there are differences. Energy Hook still stands out in my memory as one of the worst games I’ve ever played, and Cyber Hook is…not. Beyond that, though, Cyber Hook also has a few other features, like running really fast and shooting, that mean calling it “a game where you swing around from a hook” isn’t totally accurate. Still, as core mechanics go, it’s definitely one that has its limitations.

The broader issue for Cyber Hook is that its other features don’t totally work with what the game is trying to do. This is where the comparison to Glyph comes in. In both cases, the games wanted to graft speed-running onto 3D platforming, but didn’t quite think about how that would work in practice. In fact, in both cases you constantly have to deal with floaty, imprecise jumps. For a game built around speed and precision, that’s an awkward fit.

On top of that, Cyber Hook has a weird tension between the speed at which it wants you to play and the level design. Again, it’s clear that the game expects you to move as quickly as possible. There’s a speedometer in the bottom corner, and the faster you go, the more the world around you melts away. It’s a feature, not a bug. At the same time, though, the levels often require a lot of planning and precision, neither of which are possible when you’re going so fast you can barely even see the world around you. Maybe I’m missing the point of the game, and it’s actually trying to see how quickly you can adapt while rocketing through levels, but whatever the goal is, I think they missed out a little on achieving it.

That could probably be the epitaph for Cyber Hook, actually: they missed out just a tiny bit. It’s certainly fun to move so quickly, and with a few tweaks I feel like this could have been a great game, but as it stands, it’s not quite all there.

Graffiti Games provided us with a Cyber Hook Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-