148Apps Network Post
Developer: Dancing Dots
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

“Oh my god, it’s 6:30 AM.”

These words came out of my mouth after a lengthy late night session of Knights of the Round Cable, the new grappling hook game from Dancing Dots and Chillingo. Sure, I am awake at times when most normal people are getting up, but there is still something about this addictive game that bewilders me at how quickly time has passed while playing it.

This is a high score chase game where players collect gems while swinging around an arena. The grappling system works by having the knights connect to points suspended in mid-air, that they can swing 360 degrees around. It’s similar in practice to how Slingshot Racing worked, though players can also reverse their direction. Gravity is more of a helpful suggestion than anything, as the knights bounce and fly effortlessly through the air. Players get big bonuses for collecting entire sets of gems, which are laid out around the points, and in later levels, the formations get more complex. Players can pick up magnet powerups to easily collect gems, and release imprisoned princesses to get more points.

Why do I love grappling hook games like this so much? Because they enable the player to feel that sense of perfect motion, to easily get into the flow of the game in ways that other games only allow their expert players to do. Thus, success in a game like this becomes about not just attaining momentum, but maintaining it. The controls are fantastic – the indicator for which point the knight will grapple to helps out a ton, and the direction switching is an incredibly useful tactic, not just for picking up gems, but for avoiding hazards.

It’s just the whole feel of the game, the way that it encourages the player to get engrossed in the satisfaction of grappling around, almost floating through the limited gravity environments, to find the next ring of gems to collect, chaining together perfect swings. the decision to take multiple hits before dying was an inspired one: it encourages mastery of the mechanics, and keeps the game from getting frustrating.

The unlock system is very well-handled, in that there’s an actual progression curve, with upgrades and characters (who make subtle but important differences in play style) only unlocked after mission completion. While it may still be possible to just buy one’s way out o the progression system, it would be time-consuming in and of itself.

I’m absolutely hooked to Knights of the Round Cable. It’s a cheap pun, and I’m going to use it! Few games pull me in like this, and find me so engrossed that I lose track of time. I absolutely love this game.

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