I’m an entrant in the latest Speed Runs Live Mystery Tournament (Edition #5). This is a double-elimination tournament in which you and an opponent are assigned a game and a goal, and, having (ideally) never played the game, try to complete the goal first. Other people can also jump in on these races for fun. So, a few days ago, I crashed a race without knowing the game I was going to play, only that it was a Freeware game. The game turned out to be Green Grappler.
Developed in 72 hours for the Speedhack 2010 competition, Green Grappler is the story of a…green grappler. The plot is basically “you against nuclear power”. After the tutorial, you go through 8 brief levels, then a final boss. At the end of each level is a nuclear core. You have to break the shield surrounding the core, then collect it.
And how do you get through these levels? With a grappling hook, of course! Green Grappler is, as you’d expect by the name, a grappling game. The controls are pretty simple–the arrow keys move you (Up jumps), and the left Control key shoots out your grappling hook. You can then swing to safety, or fire the hook again. Also, you can control, to a limited degree, the angle the hook shoots out by pressing a directional key at the same time as you fire it. Additionally, the hook tries to “home in” on the nearest grapple-able item. You see, not every block in the game will catch the hook, and some of the ones that do will break after a brief time.
One note is that I’m primarily a console gamer, in case you couldn’t tell by the heavy slant towards the NES to this point. As such, I found the coordination required to play the game using its default controls awkward, but that’s an issue with me moreso than the controls themselves, which are responsive enough when you use them correctly. That said, if you’re a console gamer like me, and are thus used to having your movement controls on your left hand, you may want to use JoyToKey or a similar program to use a PC controller instead.
Green Grappler is not a very long game. Having never played it before, I completed the game in a half hour, and I’m not that great at games of this type. As you might expect, it’s also not the most challenging game, although I should add that the top-left level, which your cursor defaults to after the tutorial, is one of the most difficult levels of the eight.
Aesthetically, the game is consciously meant to evoke the original Game Boy, down to that weird shade of green the system had as its screen. It does a good job of this, as the game’s graphics are simple enough that I could believe this was originally a Game Boy game. The game attempts to do the same with its music and sound effects, though the sound set is richer, more reminiscent of the Commodore 64 and the people who were influenced by it.
Green Grappler is a quick, free diversion in the grappling genre of video gaming. Given that it’s free, it’s worth the download if you like either Game Boy-styled games, or games with a grappling hook in them. You can download it, as well as Darkbits’ other games, here.