Gripper is action-packed vehicular mayhem with hints of Death Rally and Interstate 76, only the hook is mightier than the guns.
Gripper is an in-development vehicular action RPG developed and published by Octobox Interactive. It’s aiming to release on PC and consoles in 2021 and there is currently a free prologue you can play on Steam. In a world where everyone is damaged one way or another you and your sister live peacefully on a farm. Until someone comes and burns it down. All you have left is your car with a hook. The time to learn how to kill with it is running out.
In the free prologue, you’re introduced to the characters through a short animation. Water laps at a sandy beach, revealing the words ‘Hold your heart’. In the sand is also a locket that has a picture of a family of four with dad, mum, an older brother and younger sister. The visuals are colourful and music empowering, and as the scenes transition, you drive past a stone statue of the father standing tall and frail statue of the mother holding an IV pole wearing a scarf, indicating she perhaps has cancer. The lighting dims and you drive into the night. The music tracks by KillTheBarber!, Mezzanine and pqQp are great and match the mood and gameplay well.
This sets an emotional undertone to the story of Gripper with the next scenes showing sometime in the future where the boy and girl are now older, living on a desolate farm with dry lands and no water. Their vehicles rely on electricity from giant tesla coils. Shooting a hook to connect with the coil provides your vehicle with electricity. The dust trail behind the car has a really great effect and has been animated well. It feels like you’re playing out a cartoon story. There is one sequence that slows down as you drive through a shrine to your parents which is quite beautiful.
The hook becomes an extension of your vehicle and is both used offensively to grab and throw enemies, as well as to help you cross canyons by grabbing an object and swinging across the ravine. When you come across the first boss fight, you can use the hook to rip limbs off them and throw them back at the boss, damaging it. You can even rip the first bosses mounted gun off him and use it to shoot back for a short time.
The controls took a lot of getting used to. I started using keyboard/mouse, ignoring the game’s suggestion to use a controller, but after dying to the second boss many times, I plugged the controller in. Even with the controller, it took me a while to learn how to steer the vehicle whilst dodging enemy fire and aiming the hook to grab an enemy or a timed bomb and then aim it back at the boss, whilst dodging obstacles and more enemy fire. It’s chaoticly good fun and I definitely recommend using a controller.
There are two bosses in this free prologue. After defeating the first boss, Spider and taking it’s heart back to the farm, you place the heart in some form of mine entrance and in doing so, you unlock the nitro ability which gives your vehicle boost. Next is something I haven’t seen done in a demo/prologue before. Rather than getting you to play through the transition to the next area/boss, the game explains the story and gameplay mechanics in storyboard style animations.
This then gets you straight into the action fighting the second, and much harder boss Nessie. He will reach down and grab you with his huge mechanical jaws if you get too close, spit out little exploding spider bots, and then rain down a number of bombs. The bombs explode if you drive into them, but land in the snow with a timer before they explode. You need to grab a bomb with your hook and hurl it back at Nessie, all whilst dodging the spider bots, rocks and her powerful jaws. This boss was much harder than the first, and I still struggled even using the controller, but eventually triumphed and the prologue was over.
We are shown images of three other bosses that we’ll encounter in the full game, and there are 11 bosses in total. The gameplay and puzzles in between boss fights will be exciting to explore and discover. Gripper is action-packed vehicular mayhem with hints of Death Rally and Interstate 76, only the hook is mightier than the guns. Features of the full game will include:
- Take on the journey of a hero named None and follow the voice of his sister — a deaf singer.
- Tear your enemies apart with a hook and finish them with their own weapons.
- Discover and rip away the hearts of 11 colossal bosses to gain new abilities.
- Explore 11 bizarre biomes which will form a vast and majestic world right in front of your eyes.
- Fly through 11 nightmarish tunnels to the beat of incredible tracks by KillTheBarber!, VEiiLA, Under This, Yamila, Mezzanine, pqQp.
- Solve puzzles and decipher the codes of Garbage Collector to reconstruct the world history.
- Immerse yourself into the retro-waves and tunes of mini rhythm games.
- Collect all hidden statues to reveal the skeletons and tragedies of each character.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis