-Disclaimer- This preview was written during Early Access. Skyhook is subject to change.
Like most Indie Games on Steam, you've probably never heard of Skyhook. It's a local multiplayer action platformer, or a less fancy term would be party game. As of late the market has become very saturated with party games. They have become the newest trend in gaming, from Nidhogg, Towerfall, and Gang Beasts, you name it, they come in just about every flavor. Skyhook looks to make a name for itself in a big market. Now while this title is still in active development and on Early Access, the basic core mechanic of the game is in place.
Why that would be grappling hooks of course! Who doesn't love grappling hooks, they're the best item in all of Zelda games and Batman! Skyhook challenges you with murdering your best friends using grappling hooks in its multiple arenas/levels. If grappling hooks aren't enough, hop aboard the floating ship and blast them in the face with a cannon. Now I will admit that there is only a certain amount of content to be explored here in Skyhook. Despite this though, with the right group of buddies, Skyhook can have some very dynamic and interesting battles as you bounce around its levels like a monkey on crack.
Of course Skyhook features the same delicious amount of pixel goodness we have come to expect from party games. The characters are all very colorful, designed neatly and seemingly have a bit of personality. The level designs are pretty solid and allow for some pretty crazy matches as you desperately try to hook your friends to death. There are some bugs though, this is Early Access. The floating ship can be piloted into a position which makes it unusable and it just floats there like a log. Bugs are to be expected though as development continues.
Other features include items that can give you a key advantage in combat, from invisibility, to mirror imaging yourself on the other players. These items add a bit of "brawl" style flair to matches and a little break from just hooking people over and over. Multiple people can also use the same keyboard for Skyhook, including controllers which I find to be a bit more intuitive with these types of games. Thankfully Skyhook does feature full controller support, so there isn't much stress in finding one that works. Also other game modes like Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, and Steam Tank which limits your grappling hooks.
I had fun with Skyhook, but of course the major caveat of the game is that it requires other people to play with, in order for the game to be enjoyed. With no online multiplayer and no current single player campaign, there is only so much you can play before you move along. Now while it is still early to make a call on Skyhook, I feel the game does have some interesting potential. Grapple hooking enemies isn't the newest concept but still can be innovated in some interesting ways. Adding shifting levels dynamics like on the level seen above is a good example. Perhaps a level that is scrolling sideways/up or take a note from Speedrunners and make a racing level but solely based off your grapple hooking skills. Make a level that has glowing stars to be collected behind several dangerous obstacles, first to three wins. These are just some examples of what Skyhook could become.
There are many possibilities for Skyhook, as long as the developer continues working passionately. I am happy to say that while cruising the Skyhook Steam forums, I noticed a daily development blog that had scores of minor tweaks and updates being made. This is the kinda thing you want to see out of a developer, and should put some fears to rest for those burned by Early Access games before.
Speaking to the future of Skyhook, the developers planned features include more characters, more levels/hazards, more powers ups and environmental effects, new vehicles and mounts. Not to mention a single player/co-op campaign that will have 40 levels and other unlockable goodies. It is important to underline that online multiplayer is not a planned feature currently.
So if you're in the market for a fun party game, want something that combines elements of Mario, Smash Bros, and Speedrunners, Skyhook might be just the game you're looking for in your gaming library. Just remember to make sure you have some friends who don't mind coming over instead of playing online.
Also wanted to throw in some kudos for cool art.