Titanfall 2 is a practically flawless game in all ways but one: it isn’t basketball. Fortunately, independent developer and absolutely genius Andreas Georgiou is rapidly working to fix that with Grapple Hoops—a game that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Currently playable as a pre-alpha demo over on GameJolt, Grapple Hoops immediately improves basketball by handing you a grappling hook. You’ll need it, too—the game’s courts take place over rooftops and passenger jets hovering over a bottomless void, tasking you with sprinting, kicking, wall-running and catapulting yourself to a slam dunk at the other side of the map.
While placeholder models and greyboxed geometry speak to the game’s clearly work-in-progress condition, Georgiou’s already onto a killer. Like Mirror’s Edge, you have a strong sense of physicality in how your body interacts with the environment. Yanking yourself around the map—the most important bit to get right—feels phenomenal, even at this early stage.
It’s also cool to see Georgiou take to speedrunning at such an early stage. Grapple Hook is a game that lends itself extremely well to time trials, and a link to the game’s discord suggests there’ll be regular rewards dished out to the fastest grapplers. It’s a side of the game I’m excited to see grow, in the same way it’s thrilling to see how far Titanfall 2 speedrunners can push the game’s opening gauntlet by milliseconds at a time.
But I’m also pumped to see the developer push the game’s limited mechanics in wild new directions. The current demo leans a little too hard on catapulting, but tweets tease the player being pursued by goons, dunking on ’em with the basketball in the same way you’d score a hoop. More of that, please.
Grapple Hook isn’t the only parkour game in town lately, with last year’s Ghostrunner giving us a slick cyberpunk metropolis to bounce around in. Still, I’d like to see that game’s acrobatic ninjas try shooting a hoop from all the way across town.
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