HardGrip Hands-On

We went hands-on with this Wii rock-climbing game, which is also coming to the Xbox 360 Natal and the PlayStation 3 Move.



Rock climbing might not be the most obvious sport to replicate on all three major motion-controller systems, but that's what developer HumanSoft is attempting to do with HardGrip. The game was being shown in early form at GDC 10, allowing us to try it out using the standard Wii Remote controller. The game is also touted to support Wii MotionPlus, Project Natal on the Xbox 360, and the Move on the PlayStation 3.

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In our Wii demo, we were given two Wii Remotes; one to use in each hand. You hold the controllers upright, pull the trigger on one of the remotes, and then shake the remote to make your character grab hold of the wall. You then repeat this action with the other hand, always holding at least one of the triggers down to ensure you remain connected to the wall.

While repeating this action is enough of a challenge, there's plenty more to HardGrip to keep you occupied. The stamina bar tracks how much energy you have left in your arms, so if you're getting low, you have to release the trigger on one Wii Remote and then shake it to loosen your muscles to regain stamina. You can also choose your route to the top, with some paths being quicker and others offering power-ups. The snowflake power-up, for example, freezes the stamina bar for a limited amount of time, allowing you to scale the mountain without having to pause for a break.

The adrenaline meter also comes into play at certain points, and if you have enough of it, you can perform special moves. At one point, we collected an adrenaline power-up that allowed us to jump from one cliff face to another, in a move similar to that performed by Tom Cruise at the beginning of Mission Impossible II. The standard Wii Remote configuration only offers eight directions of control, according to Kadas, but with the MotionPlus add-on, this will be improved exponentially.

The Wii version of HardGrip should be released this year, but as they've not even been built yet, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions may be out a little later. HumanSoft was at the Game Developers Conference to show the game to journalists and pitch it to publishers, so a deal should hopefully be in place soon. We'll let you know more details when we have them.

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