Electric Hat Games’ TO THE TOP is a vibrant, rapid-paced climbing game that demonstrates a brilliantly innovative locomotion technique that the development team claims results in “zero motion sickness”.
Take Crytek’s The Climb, mix in a dash of Mirror’s Edge and sprinkle over a little inspiration from Survios’ latest and impressive locomotion prototype and you have TO THE TOP, a new climbing action game from Electric Hat Games.
The premise is simple: reach the end of the course with your limbs unbroken. That course takes the form of a bright, vibrant and vertiginous trail, marked out with coloured tracks, hand holds, pipes and so on. The twist here is that, in order to move through the world, you use only your hands to gain both traction and velocity. Unlike the aforementioned The Climb, which took a largely slow-paced, considered approach to its gameplay, TO THE TOP encourages you to gain and maintain as much speed as possible.
Recently, we took a look at Survios’ Sprint Vector, an infinite runner title which required the player to launch and vault through a series of largely linear courses at breakneck speed. The company called the game’s locomotion system ‘Fluid Locomotion’ and has the player swing their arms whilst holding motion controllers to gain speed and initiate climbs and jumps. Ben Lang tried this out and was surprised with how effective the title was at providing satisfying input but, more importantly, how comfortable the experience proved to be.
TO THE TOP has a slightly different approach, with movement through the world made via coloured areas which you grab with your virtual hands, again tracked with motion controllers – where you look, you launch. The other difference is that the levels through which these coloured paths are set is rife with verticality and some alarming heights. Add to that a bizarre world with some dead-on production design and crazy roller-coaster courses and you’ve got a polished and intriguing package.
Electric Hat Games say that their motivation for the title’s locomotion was to “create a movement mechanic that is simple to use, takes advantages of VR input, and feels very comfortable to play.” The team say they spent a year fine tuning the approach until they were sure they had something that worked and was fun. TO THE TOP is the realisation of this work.
The title is currently available via Steam for both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift + Touch controllers and for your money you’ll get 30 levels with 5 ‘goals’ per level to complete. Also, the developers have teased that online multiplayer functionality is coming, an intriguing prospect.