Also On: PC
Publisher: Happion Laboratories
Developer: Happion Laboratories
Energy Hook is bad. Really, really bad. Truly, deeply, horrendously bad.
How bad? Energy Hook is so bad that I want to go back and retroactively bump the grades I gave to games like Lichdom: Battlemage, The Technomancer, and The Park, because, having now played what may just be the worst game of all time, I'm pretty confident they didn't deserve the hate I gave them.
How bad? So bad that I've gone from being sad about the canned Vita version to being sad that the game exists on any platform at all.
How bad? So bad that I feel like it's part of some semi-elaborate hoax, because I can't believe that it took the creator of the semi-classic Spider-Man 2 more than three years to come up with a game that looks like it could've been banged out in a couple of days about twenty years ago.
On that last point, of course, I freely admit that my knowledge of game development is virtually non-existent. For all I know, getting a game to look, feel and play like a glitchy PS1-era tech demo might be the absolute height of complexity. Somehow, though, I doubt that very much.
In any case, regardless of its complexity, Energy Hook is simply atrocious. When I call it a "glitchy PS1-era tech demo", I mean that in the most literal sense possible. The entirety of the game is one awful-looking character swinging around a couple of empty, nondescript environments. There's no plot. There are no other people. It's just you, swinging around, trying to pull off achievements and tasks that are explained to you via floating blocks of 3D text.
This might have been acceptable if the swinging was actually fun. But it's really, really not. The camera jerks all over the place, there's no sense of scale or space, and the controls don't seem to have any rhyme or reason as to when they work and when they don't. I wouldn't say the game left me feeling queasy, necessarily, but at the same time, there were definitely points where I had to look away from the screen for a second so that everything would stop spinning.
It doesn't help matters that nothing about Energy Hook feels finished. I lost track of the number of times I went swinging in one direction, only for literally everything around me to suddenly vanish as I plummeted to my death and eventual regeneration. I frequently landed on surfaces and sank in to my waist. At several points, the camera rotated abruptly and I found myself staring through half of my character's body. Sometimes, all of those things came together as I'd land somewhere and sink part of the way in, and a quick turn of the camera would reveal that parts of my body were sticking up in vast expanses of monochromatic nothingness.
The worst part of it all is that Energy Hook isn't even a fun game to hate. It's not like The Technomancer or Lichdom: Battlemage, where the end products were either blatant rip-offs of significantly better games, or complete and utter fiascos (respectively). It's not even like its spiritual successors, the infamously-terrible Superman 64 or Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis. In those cases, at least you could laugh at how much those games screwed up beloved licensed properties (okay, sorta-tolerated properties, in the case of Aquaman), and turned them into punchlines. Those closest you get to that here is realizing that no matter how much some people have complained about licensed Spider-Man games in recent years, it could've been much, much worse.
It doesn't get any worse than Energy Hook, though. This is the absolute bottom of the barrel, a completely unenjoyable, unplayable mess from start to finish that's a strong contender for the title of worst game ever made. Don't play it, don't think about playing it, and try to forget that it ever even existed. I know I will.