Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines is a blast so far | Hands-on preview

by on June 11, 2024

As a huge fan of 2D platformers I like to make sure I play as many colourful jumping adventures as possible, but there are always going to be a few games that slip through the cracks. One such game was Grapple Dog, which featured an adorable little pup swinging through stages and looked entirely like something I’d love. Well I’ve decided to make right on my past mistakes, and that starts by playing a preview build of its sequel Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines.

For the most part this direct sequel seems to be similar to the original game, but with one key difference – an extra dog protagonist. The two furry characters have different move-sets that make them function entirely differently, and in my short time with the game I got to play through two levels as each of them.

Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines

First up was the returning pooch Pablo, who has the simpler time of the too. With the ability to bounce on the heads of enemies and swing effortlessly off grapple points, and controlling Pablo feels like a dream. While many games with grappling involve building extreme momentum then wildly propelling through the air, swinging in Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines is a much smoother experience and lends itself to some lovely platforming.

When I switched to Luna for the second stage of the demo I was in for a rude awakening. No longer able to just bounce on the baddies, Luna is instead equipped with a gun that you shoot in a twin stick style. She also has slightly improved movement abilities, able to perform an air dash that’ll get you to even the hardest to reach collectibles with ease. There’s a much steeper learning curve when playing as Luna, but after the first stage I was able to enjoy her more combat focused gameplay.

The stages of Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines I got to play were each maybe just over five minutes long, but they all felt totally different. After learning how to play in the first level, I was then sent to a bustling metropolis of monkeys and given an electric power that allowed me to jolt through solar panels. If this demo is anything to go off, then the full version of Grapple Dogs will have plenty of variety.

Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines

While each stage of Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines has a fairly linear “get to the goal” objective, there are also a handful of important collectibles to grab in tough to reach places and behind fake walls. Gems will apparently open up more levels in the main game, and while I don’t have any idea how a treasure chest hiding a slice of pizza will help me on my quest to save the day, I know I’ll make sure to grab it all the same.

Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines seems to have everything I look for in a 2D platformer, and I had a blast playing through four stages for this preview. The variety in environments and hazards was impressive, the two characters feel just unique enough to be fun to swap between without it becoming a headache, and the collectables had me hunting high and low. If swinging around different worlds as an adorable dog sounds like your idea of a good time, then the new entry in the Grapple Dog series will really make you smile.

Grapple Dogs: Cosmic Canines is coming to PC via Steam on August 15th. Play the demo here.