Silver Grapple

A game by Jamie Rollo Games for PC, originally released in 2017.
The grapple-based action genre is sparsely populated but offers a surprising amount of variety in terms of swinging mechanics. Bionic Commando is known for its rigid grapple arm but a complete freedom to grapple any point in the environment, whereas most other games with grapple mechanics only allow the ability to be used at specified points. Ninja Five-O allows for more momentum and control over swing speed and grapple length, but requires players to fling themselves around obstacles instead of pulling themselves through them. UmiharaKawase, on the other hand, offers a more slow-paced and technical experience with a fishing line instead of a taught rope, allowing players to hang down from ledges and be dragged along conveyor belts, while making it more difficult to build up momentum.

Silver Grapple offers a rope that can be fired in eight directions, but no ability to reel it in or out. Walking along a flat surface and aiming the grapple upward at a 45 degree angle does not initiate a swing, as walking forward causes the rope to become slack. The game’s protagonist (which may be male or female at the player’s option) does not have superhuman abilities. The player begins the game with a waist-high hop before encountering high jump boots that allow for a 1x variable jump.

The player can connect the rope and then press LEFT and RIGHT to swing a bit, but it takes a long time to build up momentum. Furthermore, the rope has a grip meter that depletes quickly, and the rope automatically disconnects once the meter is empty. As such, the player’s control over his swing is limited to minor course corrections while in midair, as opposed to other genre entries where a grapple may be made from a stationary position and then transitioned into a larger movement for environmental traversal.

The game takes place in an underground complex, which is divided into 11 themed zones. There seems to have been some kind of accident, and more story details are found by meeting people and uncovering journal entries. You must find a way to move from one area to the next, dealing with broken structures and malfunctioning equipment that make the path forward more difficult.

Fortunately, scattered throughout the facilities are various items that can help, including the grappling hook, the aforementioned high jump boots, a map that shows your surroundings, teleporters that let you move to previously explored areas, a hydrofoil that lets you skim across the water, and a variety of keys and keycards. Only by exploring the damaged facilities and finding these upgrades can you eventually make your escape.

The grappling elements – which are the core focus of the game – are extremely challenging. Thing start out simply enough, using traditional grapple-based gameplay to connect at a 45 degree angle and swing across gaps, but things escalate quickly. Early on, the player must employ advanced techniques such as hitting a jump pad and grappling laterally to swing quickly around a ledge and fling himself in a precise direction. Remember those moments in Bionic Commando where you manage to use the grapple at just the right moment and make a last-minute save? Well, this whole game is made up of last-minute saves.

Only the most hardened grapple veterans need apply here, as levels see you whizzing around corners, making multiple grapples with split-second timing, releasing the grapple at the exact moment to avoid being fried by electricity or cut with razor wire, activating multiple targets in midair while also grappling from point to point to stay aloft, and hitting speed boosters that require you to do all of these things with even less time to react.

In most cases, players won’t know what dangers lie ahead until they actually run into them. The game is built around trial and error as players find themselves thrust into unexpected dangers with little room for mistakes. Fortunately, checkpoints are fairly frequent, limiting the pain when you have to repeat a sequence a dozen or more times, and you eventually gain access to an item that lets you instantly spawn back at the last checkpoint, allowing you to hasten your respawn should you realize a fatal error in your technique.

Between these tough-as-nails grappling sequences are more traditional – and considerably easier – environmental navigation sequences. Here, the player must activate equipment to move around the area, turn on fans that let him rise up on air currents, and smash through bricks that can only be broken by hitting them at high speed. The grappling hook is used in more subtle ways in some of these challenges, such as having the player grapple the walls to slow his upward movement when riding air currents through spike-lined shafts.

Silver Grapple was developed by Jamie Rollo Games, which was founded by Jamie Rollo and is based in Sydney, Australia. Development on the game began in 2012. Jamie previously developed Chest Quest, Ars Ira, and Wave Run. Music and sound for the game were composed by Tom Campbell.