Developer: a small game
Version Reviewed: 1.0.
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Hanger, based on a PC game, doesn’t leave the greatest first impression. Between its crude art style and simplistic yet gruesome violence, it feels more like a Flash diversion than a fully-realized game. However, this physics-based swinging game has a bit more going on beneath the surface.
Anyone who’s played Hook Champ or any other grappling hook platformer should feel right at home with Hanger’s rope swinging mechanics. What may set it apart though is its emphasis on physics. Guiding one’s stick figure avatar from one end of the level to the next is not a graceful experience. Instead, players are forced to watch their character repeatedly slam up against rocks and spikes like a ragdoll Spider-Man. Overly sloppy play results in bloody losses of both limbs and points so the goal is to reach the end of each stage as intact as possible. Doing so requires careful management of momentum and swing timing but luckily the controls are intuitive enough to handle the job. They require some finesse but in a way, that makes skillful swinging feel all the more satisfying.
There’s an endless mode but the 15 initial levels will fly by. However there are more to unlock after players gather enough stars by finishing faster with fewer ropes or taking the time to snatch diamonds, roll balls into blocks, or do the various other side activities sprinkled throughout the main levels. Also sprinkled throughout the main levels are a surprising amount of different art styles. Stages range from trippy nightmares to classic comic books to retro video games. What’s a shame is that the game actually puts its most boring looking levels early on, leaving the interesting stuff for those who persevere. However, while the visuals do get better over time, they never really become anything that impressive. Same goes for the score by Boy vs Bacteria which never rises above retro mood music.
Hanger’s fundamental gameplay is very good and its weird, dark bent is intriguing. But the whole production just feels too cheap for it to be something truly great.