Games for the weekend: Mikey Hooks

Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Mikey HooksMikey Hooks ($1.99 Universal) is a platform game with a nostalgic feel, fast-paced action, and a grappling hook. If the graphics don’t remind you of games that have made this genre great, the soundtrack certainly will.
The hero in this game jumps from platform to platform collecting coins and freeing his friends from captivity. His name of course is Mikey, and Mikey is controlled by onscreen virtual buttons that are very responsive. There are forward and backward directional buttons as well as a red jump and a blue slide button. As you free Mikey’s friends, they will give you some helpful advice that you should not ignore.  The only tricky part in the game that takes a little getting use to is how to engage the grappling hook.
Mikey Hooks
Double tapping the red jump button will extend the hook in the direction of Mikey and allow him to grab on. Once his grip is firmly established, the hook starts to retract back up to whence it came. Letting go after the second tap will release Mikey’s grip and send him falling. Not to worry, if you are quick enough, you can double tap again and reconnect to the hook, this time a little father away. By jumping, gripping, releasing, and gripping again, you can begin to get the hang of mastering the all important swing.
Mikey Hooks
There are two game modes to choose from, Story and Race. In Story mode there are 6 different environments to play in with 36 different levels. Each environment’s level is locked until you earn enough stars to unlock them. Stars are earned by completing levels within a certain period of time. Completing all of the levels in Story mode is just a primer for the real challenge, Race mode. Just like Story mode, you earn stars in Race mode to unlock the next race. However, rather than just racing the clock, this time you are racing against ghosts.
Mikey Hooks
There are three ghosts that begin each race. The number of stars you earn depends on how you finish; three stars for first, two for second and one for third. If all three ghosts finish ahead of Mikey no stars are rewarded. While earning three stars by quickly completing each of the different Story levels is hard enough, the Races will prove to be even more perilous. There is something about actually seeing your competition pass you that makes you take bigger risks at the most inopportune moments.
As Mikey swings and jumps from platform to platform, he collects coins. These coins can be spent to make some changes to Mikey that are not just topical, but often times quite comical. New heads, eyes, faces and hooks are available in the shop. There is even a randomize button if you are having trouble choosing exactly which combination to select.
Mikey Hooks
The one in-app purchase you can make unlocks an options panel. Here you can elect to change how fast Mikey collects coins by doubling their value and turning on the coin magnet that makes collecting coins easier. In a sort of inverse of an easy mode, you can also add more hearts to Mikey’s life.  The more hearts you have the longer it takes to die and the easier the levels become.
After completing a story level with all of your hearts turned on via the options menu, you can go back and try to top your best time with the extra hearts turned off.  When you do, you will see a ghost image of your previous best run racing against you.  So if you do decide to better your score on a level of Mikey Hooks this weekend, your only competition will be ghosts from your past.