If you’re looking for something short, free, simple of concept and pleasant of execution to play this Decemberween, may I recommend Grimhook, a first-person action-platformer which had the misfortune to launch on 9th December, while the entire videogame journalism profession were recovering from the Geoffapocalypse. Here’s the setup: you are an irreverent young man called Dart exploring a bunch of caves with the aid of a grappling hook and a grumpy goddess trapped in a pebble.
Thanks to the goddess, Dart can perform such supernatural feats as double-jumping, aerial dashes, wall-runs and summoning ghost tentacles to spring himself off the floor, which is probably the least horrible use of ghost tentacles I’ve encountered in any game that styles itself “Lovecraftian”. All these tricks allow him to venture into various sunken ruins and batter the mysterious robots who are troubling his cliffside home. It almost feels like proof-of-concept for a first-person Prince of Persia game, with an ever-so-gentle dusting of Portal.
Grimhook has a “proper” story, with voice-acted dialogue and some background mythology to plunder, but its, haha, hook is the enjoyable sense of momentum when you start chaining abilities in one fell swoop, using dashes and grapples to stay airborne for tens of seconds at a time. The cooldown on your abilities is intuitive, and the platforming layouts are a good balance of easy-to-read and visually absorbing, with the usual telltale highlighted surfaces dotted in amongst bits of ruined architecture and vegetation. The enemies play a part in traversal too: you can launch small bots skyward to use as grappling points.
It goes down so easy you’ll probably reach the finish just as you feel like you’re getting started. I would happily play a 5-10 hour experience based on this framework, but for the moment, this is a lovely way to polish off Friday. Find it on Steam.