Grapple Dog Review – Bionic Commandog

I enjoy the simplicity of Grapple Dog. The title tells you this is a game about a dog with a grappling hook, and it is what it says on the tin. It’s this direct approach that encompasses all of Grapple Dog’s design philosophy, recalling the heyday of mascot platformers. The result is a mostly unsurprising but very solid retro platformer, with controls that are precise enough to achieve an enjoyable flow.

Similar to classic platformers, the story of Grapple Dog is delivered with a very light touch. Pablo the dog and his anthropomorphic friends accidentally empower a robot bent on collecting mystical Gadgets–artifacts that resemble everyday items from our world–to open a portal and return to his world–which would, of course, destroy theirs. It seems to be mildly commenting on disposable culture, and when it ventures into more serious territory, it doesn’t really feel earned. That said, the writing is unobtrusive and what is there is often funny, especially with incidental dialogue when you meet townsfolk in the various stages. And in a meme-friendly touch, an especially good performance grabbing collectibles in a stage lets you pet the dog.

Grapple Dog looks like a lost mascot platformer from the Game Boy Advance era, when the relatively small screen lent itself to thick outlines and saturated colors. It’s a nicely nostalgic aesthetic that goes underused now, as most retro-inspired games tend to be modeled after styles more akin to experiences found on the NES and SNES. I enjoyed the chunky look, and it felt especially at home on my Switch OLED while playing in handheld mode.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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