How do you build upon the 4th best game of 2012? By adding hookers, or at least hooking in the case of Mikey Hooks, following up Mikey Shorts. Mikey is back for an all new adventure, and he brings with him all of the best of his original outing. Mikey Hooks maintains the speed run style with classic platforming action, and simply amplifies it in every way imaginable. It’s still a race against the clock first and foremost with levels taking about 50 seconds, but so much goes on in that short period of time, so watch out. The only enemy in Mikey Shorts was the clock, but Mikey Hooks introduces spiked platforms, three different types of spiked robots, electric beams, spinning blades, and more. The dangers lead to a new health system with three heart points, and collectible hearts along the way.
The biggest addition though, is the grappling hook with very carefully positioned hooking points to let you flow through the levels. Mikey Shorts was known for its great touch controls, and they return, but are enhanced with such smooth hooking abilities. You simply, tap and hold the jump button a second time while in mid-air to swing through a stretch, and the hooking couldn’t be more perfect. The system reacts exactly as you would expect, so that it becomes like second nature as you fluidly transition between hooks. The jumping and sliding abilities returns allowing you to precisely land on tiny platforms, and then slide through tight squeezes or into certain enemy robots.
Mikey Hooks features six unique environments to play through with 24 levels in the story mode, and 12 additional race mode levels. The levels are quite remarkable because there’s such finely crafted level layouts with the brilliant placing of obstacles, platforms, and passageways that allow for a constant flow of motion if you nail the right path. It’s such a great experience when you just nail the pattern of a level, sliding under overhangs, jumping between platforms without the slightest hesitation, and hooking through a stretch with spikes above and below. The levels are set-up for such great speed runs, and there’s great intrinsic challenge that is never frustrating. Any mistake you make is completely on you as the level design and control scheme are above reproach. The addition of obstacles further emphasizes the brilliant level layouts with such precise positioning of precariously placed potential pitfalls.
Since the levels are relatively short, and there are only 36 in total, there needs to be some great replay elements, and Mikey Hooks delivers on that element as well. Each level has a three star scoring system based on time thresholds, and levels don’t feel complete until you get three stars. There are also collectible coins with a special achievement if you get them all, and each story level has a pair of hidden golden shorts to discover. Those coins are quite valuable, as you can use them to unlock various disguises to outfit Mikey with, which really highlight the personality and charm packed into the original, and the new Mikey Hooks. The game also includes excellent Game Center integration, so that you can see your friend’s scores on each level without leaving the app, giving you extra incentive to replay a level. There’s simply so much to enjoy, and you’re simply left begging for more after getting three stars on each level.
Mikey Hooks ($1.99, Universal) latches on to you, and won’t let go as you keep swinging through an expertly crafted game that is one of the best on iOS making it an absolute must buy.