A cute and enjoyable platformer starring a hook-slinging robot.
The removal of traditional platforming mechanics, like jumping, is one way of tweaking a time-tested formula, but some amount of finesse is needed to ensure that the absence of said mechanics isn’t a detriment to the overall gameplay. In Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker, the protagonist’s inability to jump allows the free-moving camera control to shine, for example. Get-A-Grip Chip features a robot named Chip whose feet would remain firmly on the ground if not for a large red hook that it can shoot out at any angle, allowing Chip to connect to conveyor belts or slingshot up and over obstacles. The cartoonish presentation and solid gameplay combine with some spare factory parts to create a compact but enjoyable experience.
Across five worlds and 30 stages, players have to guide Chip from the beginning of each level to the end while avoiding lasers, spike pits, fans, and other dangers. A small hub world allows you to return to previous worlds or stages to improve your stats, like completion time and number of deaths, and online leaderboards for each stage coupled with an achievement system add nice replay value. There are also eight Battery Bots to collect in every stage, a small number of which are needed to access the final stage in each world. They are often hidden inside secret passages or require navigating a more treacherous path, but fortunately once found and returned to one of numerous checkpoints, they remain in your possession for the remainder of the stage. You don’t actually have to complete all the stages to move on to the next world as each stage has an indicator that tells you how many stages you need to finish before others will open up.
Chip is controlled by moving left and right or pressing the R button to shoot out its mechanical hook and then holding the button down to stay attached to whatever the hook grabs a hold of. The hook can be aimed using the right stick, and although the controls do feel good initially, the combination did start to hurt my hand during a longer play session. After hooking to an object, Chip can launch itself in any direction by releasing the R button, which allows this little robot that could to reach higher platforms and surmount boxes and other obstacles. Even though the stages after the first world gradually build in difficulty, none of the pre-boss stages feels overly challenging. The boss stages, however, feature a race against time as a wave of acid or wall of flames constantly chases you to the eventual end goal. The abundant checkpoints help, but these particular levels require a fair bit of skill and timing to overcome.
Get-A-Grip Chip presents a fair and satisfying set of stages that can help you pass a few hours with enjoyable hook-based platforming. Every world throws one or more new wrenches into the works, and the basic formula and controls are fun and effective. While the music ranges from decent to out-of-place (given the cartoonish visuals), Chip’s charming design and the overall clean aesthetic allow the gameplay to take center stage. Longer sessions may put a strain on your fleshy digits, but this is another Switch title perfect for its pick-up-and-play value. Anyone looking for a solid platformer that exchanges robotic bells and whistles for a charming presentation and replay value should grab their Nintendo Ultra Hand and grab hold of Get-A-Grip Chip.