by Liam Doolan
Gravity+ by Nitrolic Games is a puzzle title for the Wii U eShop that’s all about gravitational pull; the plus sign featured in the game’s title makes reference to the game’s use of the directional pad to manipulate gravity. In reality, you are actually just rotating the game’s maze-like environments in multiple directions in order to help a small green robot reach the exit of a space station.
This basic concept in Gravity+ is expanded upon over time. The first stage is simple enough – get to the exit. As you unlock more and more stages, you’ll encounter threats such as enemies, dangerous laser beams that need to be disabled, teleportation devices and locked doors normally requiring a key located on the other side of a level. The premise is simple, and once you’ve got your head around the fact you are rotating the game’s environments, not the robot, you’ll develop a good sense of rhythm as you navigate each stage.
The little green robot isn’t completely useless. It can jump and also move about when needed. This can be handy when a certain level of precision is required – for example to avoid a spinning blade above or below. Gravity+ becomes a lot easier when you work out that you can freeze the robot mid-air when you hold down the A button. This ability isn’t all that evident at first, but once it has been discovered you’ll be able to safely suspend the robot above a number of hazards.
The downside to all of this is the limited amount of content on offer. With just over two dozen stages, the main offering in Gravity+ doesn’t last very long. The two additional modes are also rather limited – the challenge mode adds objectives and unique rules to each level, while ‘complete challenge’ encourages the player to see how far they can go with just one life. Both do little to deviate from the main mode’s offerings.
Fortunately, there is a level editor. Presumably drawing inspiration from the likes of Super Mario Maker, this mode allows you to create your own levels and share them via Miiverse. If you intend to upload a level to Miiverse there is a limit to the amount of items you can add, along with the requirement to include an exit, the player and the score. Like Super Mario Maker, prior to uploading a level you must also be able to complete it. The level editor admittedly adds an unlimited sense of replay value to Gravity+. Unfortunately, if you would like to use it, you must purchase this mode as a DLC add-on via the eShop. Given the base game’s limited offerings, it doesn’t seem enitrely fair that this tool is locked off as paid content.
Wii UDS Gravity Plus 01 Mediaplayer Large
Visually, Gravity+ is not much to look at. The logo is slick, but the rest of the game seems to utilise a lot of basic art imagery. There’s not really any animation, either. Despite this, what is on display does enough to fit the futuristic space station theme. The main problem is the display. While the screen ratio is 16:9, it appears to have been created with 4:3 dimensions in mind – with thick black borders filling each side of the screen. Each of these borders is filled with information including the score, play time, bonus points, stage number, online rankings and even the game’s logo. It’s a tad overcrowded. With the screen continuously rotating, the game is in many ways best suited to the GamePad. There’s also the option to use the Pro Controller, Wii Remote and Classic Controller. The music is on par with the visuals, as are the sound effects, with space tunes and laser beams making appropriate sounding noises.
Gravity+ is surprisingly functional and delivers a solid experience. The overall design and presentation does feel a bit rough around the edges, but when you develop a tempo the levels slowly become addictive. The limited content on offer in the base game is probably the biggest criticism, however taking into account the purchasable level design tool the gameplay is potentially unlimited. If you would like a solid game on the Wii U that comes with its own level design tool, Gravity+ is one to consider – provided you’re cool with paying a bit extra to unlock it.
Not Bad 6/10
Review copy provided by Nitrolic Games