El Gancho (Xbox One) Review with stream
Large focus on the grapple mechanic but requires practice to understand let alone master
Another EastAsiaSoft game with easy Achievements – hunters take note
2D sprite art is small yet endearing
The soundtrack is upbeat but can grow annoying especially when struggling with the swinging aspect
Killing enemies with your trail is overly difficult and lack of bullets increases difficulty
El Gancho is the latest roguelite title to be released on all the digital platforms but differentiates itself with a unique laser-hook tool, aka a grapple hook. Impressively cool when in motion and put in the hands of a master, it is a fun mechanic, that is, if you can grasp the learning curve.
Playing as a tiny lizard trying to free his other tiny lizard friends, it is your job to swing, climb, and jump through each stage, collecting food and making contact with your friends to save them. Once all the buddies are rescued, it is onto the next stage which is usually more difficult than the last.
Navigation is heavily based around the grapple aspect which is controlled like a twin-stick shooter. Using both analog sticks and the shoulder buttons, the player needs to whip around the stage, building momentum along the way to reach new heights. Learning this swing mechanic, however, is much more difficult than it looks. Eventually I managed to complete the tutorial and got a little better with each run but getting the feel for this unique aspect takes time. It is difficult to explain in writing, something that is better understand if you play it for yourself. Just know it requires some initial tenacity to understand.
Swinging isn’t just about travel. Whenever moving through the air, the lizard will leave a trail of yellow sparkles behind him. If an enemy gets hit by this trail, the enemy is defeated. Simply jumping over an enemy doesn’t work as the trail doesn’t fall far enough. Instead, the player needs to swing to have any chance at killing enemies. Alternatively, your pistol and its very limited ammo supply can be used to shoot enemies. It seems like this gun action was created as a fail-safe since there isn’t always room to swing due to the randomly generated stages. It is much easier to snipe your enemies but need to make every shot count and ammo is scarce.
Each stage is littered with junk food to boost scores and maintain the health bar. Combine this with finding your lizard friends and there is almost always something on the screen that can be obtained at any moment. Levels are always one big square with platforming elements changing with each run and the playable character is rather small which makes each stage feel rather large. Bosses are also tough, as you can see in my stream, but still had fun trying.
I have been saying this for a while but rogue titles are released every week and the genre is beyond crowded. But El Gancho deserves credit for taking a different approach with the hook mechanic. It isn’t perfect but a title worth checking out if you enjoy these types of games or just want to swing like Spider-Man.
Much Faster Paced Than: Bionic Commando Rearmed
Appreciate The: different approach with the grapple mechanic
Also Try: Spelunky 2 on GamePass
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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