Mikey Hooks Review

by on August 8, 2013

Not enough games feature grappling hooks. Obviously, there’s Bionic Commando (I mean the NES original and the two Rearmed games – forget about the wonky reboot), plus Metroid Prime; other than those, I honestly can’t think of many other titles out there that involve grappling onto stuff. Which is a shame because, if done right, the ability to grapple can be a wonderful tool in a platformer. Case in point: Mikey Hooks, the sequel to last year’s Mikey Shorts.

Playing as the former Mr. Shorts, Mikey has now added a grappling hook to his ensemble, while thankfully still keeping his shorts on. In a fast-paced and simple platformer for iOS, players must (predictably) reach the end of 24 levels to save Mikey’s friends. Controls are simple, with left/right, jump and slide buttons. Pressing jump twice will attach a grapple rope to the nearest grappling point (if there’s one available, and there usually is), while the slide is used for travelling under low ceilings, and also for defeating particular enemies.

It all sounds very simple and, in truth, it is. It’s to BeaverTap’s credit that they’ve delivered a platformer that works incredibly well on a touch-screen device. The controls are accurate and are some of the best I’ve used on mobile devices, the physics are tight and the levels are well designed to make the most of Mikey’s abilities. Obstacles mainly come in the form of enemies littered throughout the levels; yellow bots that have spikes on their sides but can be used as platforms, blue bots that have spiky tops but can be slid into, and red bots that are covered in spikes and have to be avoided. Then, of course, you have areas with spikes that you really don’t want to land on, and bottomless pits – it’s all standard platform fare.

The levels are also full of coins, which can be exchanged for customisable heads, eyes, faces and hooks in the shop. Sadly, it’s just for cosmetic purposes, but there are a ton of disguises available for purchase. I personally like the sausage links rope and bacon mouth, because you can’t get enough meat these days.

Mikey Hook’s 24 levels are split over six worlds, and each level is around a minute long, making for a truly bite-sized slice of portable platforming. It does look like BeaverTap will release more levels but, for now at least, you’re ticket to extended replay value is to find the Golden Shorts hidden away on each level, and collect all the coins. Without the tricky to find Golden Shorts, there would be very little difficulty in finishing every level (I finished every level with a three-star time rank in less than an hour, but I wonder if only having one life instead of three would lead to a more challenging game). There are also Leaderboards for level completion times, which is fine if that’s your bag. Meanwhile, a Race Mode adds another 12 levels to the game, wherein you must race three ghosts to the end of the stage.

There is only one form of in-app purchase in Mikey Hooks, and that’s a Bonus Menu that adds Double Coins, Retro Graphics, a Large Coin Magnet and Extra Hearts. Because of the game’s lack of challenge, you really won’t need to invest in this bonus IAP – especially as you need to pay for this game in the first place.

Mikey Hooks Review

You’ve no doubt guessed from the screenshots that Mikey Hooks is very much a retro-styled game, with simply-drawn and colourful pixel art. It’s functional and nothing to write home about, but still retains a sense of uniqueness. As you can imagine, the whole thing is backed by some chip-tunage in the form of world-specific tracks that are catchy without being annoying. As usual for a mobile game, sound effects are stock platformer noises, but thankfully they aren’t too annoying.

VERDICT: This is the type of platformer that works well on mobile devices. The controls are spot on and the levels are short enough for quick bursts of play. I would have liked to see a bit more variety in the levels and some actual challenge, but there’s a foundation here that BeaverTap Games can easily work on for future Mikey games. You’ll probably be done with Mikey Hooks in an hour or two, but in that short time-frame you’ll be playing one of the better platform games available on the App Store.


GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.

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  • Dj
    August 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Reviewer is missing the point. You are going for the fastest times in the world. So it’s not just a 2 hour game. It can go on for days and months of trying to perfect it. Levels 5 and 6 are really hard too. And the bonus pack is cool to unlock retro style and key for giving extra hearts for 6 year old. Another horribly written review here. Lost all respect and I’m sure after you play this, you will too as this is one of the better games you’ll play.


    • August 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Dj, I’m glad you enjoyed the game and I totally agree that this is one of the better games out there on the App Store. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game – But for me personally, in about 2 hours I had seen everything that Mikey Hooks offered, and the gameplay didn’t grab me enough to be top of the leaderboards.

      If you genuinely believe that this was a horribly written review (and aren’t just saying that because you feel I reviewed this game negatively, which I haven’t – A 7 is still a good game, as per our Scoring Policy!), I’d be glad to hear some constructive criticism and hear how I can improve my reviews in future.

      Reviews are subjective and wholly based on opinions (or, at least they should be). Just because you may not agree with my assessment, don’t let that detract from the enjoyment you are clearly having with this game.


      • Dj
        August 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        I think the 7 out of 10 is ignorance. This game is good for the younger crowd(under 10.) and all of us. You have to realize that most people that read your reviews have kids as well. Plus, all of these people that are older play for speed so your missing the point on passing it in 2 hours. You shouldn’t just write reviews thinking of yourself, you have to think of our culture and who plays. You’ve missed this review. If I saw an 8 out of 10 I would give it to you. But for the gameplay, controls and new challenges, it is no less than an 8 and personally I think you need to try to get in the top 5 on 6-1 and then tell me it’s not challenging. After you do that, I honestly think you need to reconsider you review and at least give it an 8. Of hand it to a kid and see if they want to put it down.


        • Confused
          August 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm

          There’s really that much of a difference in your mind between a 7 and an 8?


          • Dj
            August 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

            A 7 is a C- in school. This game isn’t a C-. It’s just going to be funny when this is talked about as one of the better games and you have it as a C-. But you are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is a selfish one.

        • August 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

          Thanks for the comments and constructive criticism, Dj

          You do hit on a good point, in that I didn’t consider about younger gamers when reviewing this game. But the “it’s great for your kids” reasoning can be a bit of a cop-out. This game may be good for kids, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a factor that was worth an extra mark. I loved WWF Wrestlemania Challenge on the NES when I was 7; but that doesn’t mean it was a great game (it wasn’t).

          With that said, I do still stand by my assessment/score (which I’m entitled to, as much as you are entitled to disagree). I enjoyed Mikey Hooks, but as per our Scoring Policy, it failed to overwhelm me – Hence the score of 7.

          Practically every iOS/Android game these days has Leaderboards; arguably, it’s a feature that has become the standard on the platform, and I doubt that it’s a major selling point to most gamers. Again, I wouldn’t consider that worthy of an extra mark.

          If it makes any difference, I did get Leaderboard entries between 4th and 15th on all of World 6’s levels 😉


          • Dj
            August 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

            Lol. It’s an awesome game for any age was my point. Not a cop out. Read some real reviews about it and in a few weeks when people are talking about it, you can give your same review that no one agrees with. Wait a few more days and your 6-1 score won’t be in the top 100. Ps. I loved Mike Tysons punch out when I was 6 and I still love it now. Just keep a close eye on that game because those creators will probably have some good updates. I give your Review a 5 out of 10. You left out a whole genre of players.

          • August 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm

            But my point is that I don’t agree that the mere fact the game can be enjoyed my all, is something that’s worth an extra mark.

            Also; I’m well aware that other outlets will score this game higher. Others may even score it lower – But that’s the beauty of reviews – They’re entirely subjective. If you want me to score this game higher because other sites have, then I’m not sure you entirely understand how reviews work.

            Yes, the developers may bring out some great updates in future – But I have to assess the game on how it is now. By that logic, I could give every game a high mark in the hope that the developers release some amazing DLC or patch. If any publication did that, their integrity would be shattered.

          • Dj
            August 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

            Well, I guess your not a platformer fan, which is okay but I don’t think this falls under a 7 category. It is an 10 game. You can tell that these developers have a love for platforming because its exactly what we want. We want to beat high scores and it IS challenging to not get hit. I guaranteed you died in the 6 world several times. It has awesome controls which has won awards so its definitely not just another game. I’m glad people listen to App Store reviews and not selfish, thoughtless reviews where you ignore the whole point that this is a speed game and can be played by anyone. The game is a 10 now and when the updates come. Your reviews will have no merit to me and any of us 10,000 people that work here at this Apple office and us in the programming community.

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