App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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There’s always been something appealing about wacky physics in games, and Hang Line sure has a lot of wacky physics. This is a game where you swing wildly around on icy mountaintops as part of a mountain rescue team. It’s definitely the kind of game that makes a really good first impression, but your enjoyment of Hang Line will probably fade before you get too deep into it.
In Hang Line, you explore mountaintops using a pretty magical grappling hook. Simply tap on the screen and your character will immediately throw their hook to the spot and fling you in that direction. Other than that, you have no control over your character. You must master your swinging ability to move around and eventually reach the peak of each mountain.
Hang Line isn’t just a game about getting to the tops of mountains though. Each level contains some sort of collectible for you to hunt for. Whether it’s stranded climbers or valuable objects, these things are hidden in such a way that you’ll want to explore each environment rather than just race to the top.
Meta mountain climbing
Since Hang Line is a free-to-play game, playing it involves some rather predictable meta layers that are standard for this tier of game. You complete sub objectives on levels to earn coins, can turn people you rescue into donors who can give you currency over time, and there are ads you can watch to get continues on levels or double your rewards on occasion.
All of this stuff is pretty par for the course, but it’s also not super invasive. The main thing you want to do in this game is use its super satisfying grappling hook, and there’s practically nothing in the game’s design that prevents you from doing just that. There’s no stamina bars or other strict limitations on your progress, provided you can find a way to clear levels in Hang Line.
Grappling with reality
Hang Line swing-based platforming can be zany and entertaining, but only up to a point. This is mostly because there’s a level of complexity that the game’s physics reaches that ends up making the game less predictable and therefore less rewarding. Hang Line gets less and less fun when you can’t accurately judge how close is too close to get to pesky goats that can ram you off the mountainside, or how hard of a hit you can take to make your climber die.
Without proper feedback or information about key details like the ones listed above, Hang Line feels kind of random. What makes this then more frustrating is the prospect that you can watch ads at the end of levels for continues or purchase in-game items that trivialize these trickier aspects of Hang Line. This ends up making the game feel like its added mechanics are thinly veiled pinch points to hit up free players for money rather than any sort of well designed difficulty curve.
The bottom line
Almost all physics games reach a point where they feel too chaotic to be fun, and Hang Line is no exception. The game’s early levels show a lot of cool promise, but that falls away quickly to reveal levels full of unpredictable and annoying hazards that feel like they’re there to try and suck money out of you.