Understanding the Gravity of the Situation – Gravi Review
This game was reviewed on PC.
It’s not easy being a ball of energy. You can’t jump, you don’t have a mouth, and nobody tells you where you are—life is just so hard for orbs like you! Gravi is a 2D platformer, brought to you by indie developer Hashbang Games, and available on GamersGate for download. Make your way through the ventilation system of a factory by using balls of energy to pull you out of the grasp of danger – or are you being pulled towards it instead? In a place where your best tool for survival is also the best way to get yourself killed, let’s make our way through the maze and see if there is light at the end of the vent, or doom.
Gravi doesn’t have an opening cutscene, just a metallic grey and blue menu system, designed to make you feel as if you’re in a cartoony scrap yard. When you get into the game, it’s clear you’re in what looks like a ventilation system at a steel-working factory. You are an orb of blue energy, rolling around each level and trying to get to the next level by shooting balls of energy at walls that will pull you towards them via gravitational pull. You can roll and pull yourself via these balls, but you cannot jump at all. This method of travel is a double-edged sword, as you cannot jump out of the way or direct how the gravitational ball will pull you once it has been planted on an object or wall. If the energy ball you shot lands somewhere you didn’t intend, you could find yourself ground up in a rotating gear, set aflame, electrocuted, and more. This is what makes the game a challenge, as most Levels involve moving your way across a narrow obstacle course.
While you’re playing, you’ll enjoy rolling and pulling yourself through the ventilation shafts, but keep in mind there is a distinct lack of variety in backgrounds. You’ll be making your way through the same course over and over again, just with different paths, walls, and obstacles. There isn’t a real storyline present, which can be helpful in detaching yourself and just playing the game for what it is – a new type of platformer.
The music in the background has a futuristic, light techno theme. What really works well is the sound effects in the game. I nearly jumped out of my seat when I was electrocuted, as the volume spiked and my orb disappeared with a loud zap. Clunking around, you can really feel like you’re in the game, though the background music does nothing to set the mood. You’ll be hearing the same track playing over and over again, with nothing to indicate changes in difficulty, completion, or time.
There are ten Levels in each Chapter, and five Chapters overall in the game. That gives you forty separate opportunities to show off your skills! Each Level varies in difficulty and length, but Gravi as a whole is great for a pick-up-and-go game, as most Levels will take you no more than a minute or two to complete – unless, of course, you’re stuck on a particularly challenging spot. Even though there are several Levels, they tend to vary in difficulty a little too unevenly, making it hard to feel your progression in the game. For instance, you’ll go through two levels that are painfully difficult, then four levels that are a cinch. This fluctuation may cause players to get more frustrated at the game than they should.
You’ll be marked based on how fast you completed the Level, how many times you died, and if you have collected the green atom on each Level. This atom is an item that can be found randomly somewhere within the Level – be it hiding in plain sight, or surrounded by dangerous traps, such as spikes or fire. This gives players something to strive towards, because the game will save your progress as you go along, and you can always go back and better your score. This is strictly a single-player game, and there is no option to create more than one save, or even restart your game and make a fresh start. Players will find this game to be a personal-achievement-and-satisfaction title and not necessarily something you can compare with your friends.
It’s fun to get involved with a game where the main character has no voice or recognizable features, and you get to just play for the fun of the challenge. You’ll be impressed by how difficult life is for an animated energy ball that can’t jump, and will find yourself trying to make your way through perilous Levels just to prove to yourself that you can. Hashbang Games tried to take a platforming adventure and add a fresh perspective with its strict, gravitational-based game. While there is no real storyline or variation in Levels, if you’re looking for a quick game to satisfy your needs and a new way to look at platforming mechanics, Gravi is sure to pull you in its direction.
Gravi receives a 4.0/5.0
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