If there is one new title that I'm absolutely thrilled to see in its entirety, it's going to be Heart Core's Gripper. An extremely stylistic and off-the-rails experience, this is sure to be one of 2023's indie darling titles, due to the character it introduces along with a mysterious world and a set of protagonists to which I'm all for.
Gripper was played for the first time in over 30 minutes, with a demo that perfectly separated the game into three distinct parts. This allowed me as a player to see what the entire game would offer without completely spoiling the experience that comes with the game's whole release. Let's talk about it!
The Biggest Takeaways from Gripper's Preview
- Gripper is most definitely a difficult title, with combat and traversal offering a learning curve.
- The obstacle course-type levels in Gripper are actually really intense and could be their own separate game entirely.
- Boss fights in Gripper are also relentless, though make sense once you get the hang of them.
- The upgrade system in Gripper is just enough without being something that’s overtly intrusive.
- Gripper has a fantastic aesthetic and seemingly has a dark story to offer players.
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Obstacle Courses that Are Adrenaline-Inducing
The first, and certainly my favorite, part of Gripper is its obstacle course sections. These are done on the back of a motorcycle and allow for some creative thinking about how to get through the obstacles within your path. These are small quick-time events that serve as hidden loading screens. They're decent and add something new to the track.
The real dangers that pop out of nowhere, such as spikes, blades, and shifting walls, are the star of the show. It's very similar to the Lightbike moments from the Tron franchise's Lightbike moments. It's quite effortless to maneuver it and maneuver out of the way in a twitch. Though moving too fast or far can make things more difficult.
I'd like to see a lot more of these sections, because their difficulty is quite intriguing. If you die, you have to restart the entire course from the beginning. It's merciless, but I couldn't help but return for more.
Upgrades Makes Everything A Bit Easier
The demo also allows you to peek underneath the hood in a sense, as you can see stats, consumables, and customization options. There's quite a lot to play with in these categories, although they don't seem to get in the way. Personally, I don't like upgrades and things like that being crammed into every single game these days.
The direct abilities of your character that can be boosted over the course of the game are all that we know so far about the Max Health upgrade, which allows players to build more health bubbles as they play, making the game a bit more forgiving towards the end of the game.
Next up are consumables, which are specified abilities that may be upgraded or unequipped between levels, allowing players to create the hero they want to play as. I used Health Pack which allowed me to heal my character, as well as Landmine, which allowed me to drop mines behind me while I drive so that enemies may not encounter them.
The last step was the modification of the motorcycle. This was entirely cosmetic and there were only two skins available in the demo; a default skin and an unlockable one. It's nice to see many more skins that will soon make their appearance in the final product.
The boss is attempting to take you down a peg.
The last but certainly not least were the bosses that the game offers players. The first one was a boss that you were specifically supposed to lose against. I hate this type of boss fight because it's a waste of the player's time overall.
The boss you get to confront, although it's the first, is really difficult to get past. The fight is extremely enjoyable though as you need to peel sections off of it with your gripping tool. Additionally, you can grab enemies and throw them at the boss as well as environmental objects, such as rocks and explosive barrels.
These boss fights seemed to be very similar to a Soulslike fight; you have a super dangerous adversary that you'll lose against many times, but eventually, you'll just need to weave out of its way and launch an attack on it. The bosses also seem to have very dark, twisted stories, which reminded me of Dark Souls.
So, that's all there is to Gripper. It's definitely a title I'm looking forward to seeing in its final form, and the preview I got to play was definitely a worthwhile investment.
Gripper will be released in 2023 on PC and Nintendo Switch. Though the game's release date is yet to be determined, it will be available on Steam in the first quarter of 2023. There is yet to be a price for the game.
So, these are our initial thoughts on Gripper so far, as it turns out to be a decently interesting game. Be sure to check out our other most recent full reviews of the games that are out, such as "Review: Vengeful Guardian Moonrider is a Solid Throwback." And, like us on Facebook first to get our previews and reviews.