Grapple Tournament, a VR arcade shooter that takes advantage of vertical movement through the use of grappling hooks, will release this Thursday, November 5 on Steam early access. Developers have plans for the game that include implementation of features that will support a competitive community.
Built from the ground up for virtual reality, developers wanted to feature meaningful vertical gameplay. Some of the most popular games in the VR market – like Ready At Dawn’s Echo Arena and BigBox VR’s Population: One also capitalize on the ability to move any direction in an immersive 3D environment. Tomorrow Games’ Grapple Tournament offers something a bit different with the grappling hook that enables players to enjoy vertical gameplay with multi-functional weapons (including dual wielding) in a variety of gorgeous maps.
When asked about their inspiration for the game, lead game designer Mr. Chief stated that they took inspiration from various 2D screen games they loved and then tried to transform the most fun mechanics into VR.
“The fast action of Halo multiplayer, the pilot abilities of Titanfall or the grappling hook of Pathfinder from Apex Legends all spiced with some classic shooter elements from Quake and Unreal Tournament” were all inspirations for the game, says Mr. Chief. He added that they wanted to make the game casual friendly, while also including hundreds of small mechanics that would make a high skill ceiling.
Three game modes will be available at launch, with other modes and game modifiers planned for later. The three multiplayer game modes allow up to six players to play individually or with friends and like other multiplayer VR games, skills like teamwork and strategic planning are typically rewarded through better performance in the matches.
Tomorrow Games described the three game modes that will be available at launch as follows:
- Free For All: Everyone against everyone, up to 6 players. It can be messy and chaotic but you just can’t stop until you win. Can you be the very best on your own?
- Team Deathmatch: Fast-paced, frantic 3v3 combat. Get your weapons and defeat the enemy team with pure skill or finesse. Teamwork is essential here: shield your allies, assist in attacks and if all is critical, heal your teammates.
- Capture Point: Strategic point capture mode to spice up 3v3 team battles. Stay in the point areas to capture them and utilize all your arsenal to keep them at all cost. The team with the most points wins.
Players will also be able to play against AI bots, which beta testers described on the Grapple Tournament Discord as incredibly challenging and fun.
Whether you’re playing against bots or other humans, there’s an assortment of weapons to help achieve your goals. You’ll find plasma pistols, energy rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, rockets, and even a bow and arrow. There’s a choice of single-fire or automatic as well as instant shot or projectile based weapons.
For those who prefer melee combat, there’s also the energy blade, which does kind of what it sounds like. It’s a blade that slices through things. That sounds a little frightening, yet for the melee combat fighter, it’s always great to see developers add in a weapon we can use to get up close and personal.
Grapple Tournament maps are specifically designed so players can get the most out of the mechanics of the game. You can run, jump, or double jump yourself into position, jump walls, or of course pull yourself to safety or swing around corners with your grappling hook.
The game will release on early access with five maps and there are more in development. A variety of maps will appeal to different player interests as you can see from the following preview videos featuring three of the maps: Parthenon, Container and Hydroponics.
As the VR esports industry continues to grow, most developers recognize the benefit of making their multiplayer games esports friendly. A successful esport needs several things, including a spectator mode and an active playerbase.
Mr. Chief addressed their plans for competitive play in a recent interview.
“We hope that Grapple Tournament will bring the next step for VR games offering meaningful vertical gameplay,” he said. “We also wanted to create something that is fun to play while also fun to watch. We’ve already added informational UI for viewers and we’re planning to add a spectator tool to elevate the game to the esport level.”
He adds that “once the game has a solid foundation for its game mechanics, we’ll start to organize online tournaments.”
It’s wise to build the playerbase and add in the features in stages. This gives players time to test the various tools and it provides developers with the much-appreciated feedback from the playerbase to find out what’s working and what isn’t.
Grapple Tournament is up against some tough competition in the multiplayer VR ecosystem, but this past week BigBox VR’s Population One was able to pull away many players from the most popular VR games to the new battle royale game. VR users have a great desire for new games and experiences in the rapidly expanding immersive universe and they’re being rewarded with games that continue to provide something different.
Some VR fans, such as 33-year-old Canadian gamer Illfury, posted on the Grapple Tournament Discord a message for the devs.
“I experienced a plethora of emotion [while playing Grapple Tournament], from giggling like a school girl to almost screaming in terror when I didn’t catch the side of a building before falling to my doom.”
Illfury anticipates that the game will be in the top VR games you need to play list. It could be that his prediction is spot on, but either way, this is definitely one game you’ll want to check out.
Where to Buy
Grapple Tournament will be available on Steam early access this Thursday with support for all major VR headsets, including Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. It should be in the Oculus store by the end of the year and there are plans for it to be added as a native Oculus Quest title in 2021.
You can join the community now, check out the competition, and ask questions via social media. Join the Discord, follow the game on your favorite platform, and please let us know what you think about it.