A great puzzle game requires a certain balance and the progression of difficulty is a keystone for most of them. Controls need to be intuitive, easy to grasp, but most importantly the game needs something to draw you in and make you want to keep playing.
The need for "just one more level" after every level is something developers aim for. Gravity Ghost does not disappoint in any of these aspects.
Make physics fun
Gravity Ghost is a physics-based puzzle game without any of the stress or anxiety some other platform puzzle games can produce. There is only the relaxing movements and music as you drift through space.
- Beautifully crafted visuals
- Amazing soundtrack
- Unique physics-based puzzles
- Over 100 levels
- Storyline is fragmented and tough to follow
- Difficulty never reaches challenging until the bonus levels
What you will love about Gravity Ghost
Gravity Ghost immerses you in a beautifully crafted, hand-painted universe. From start to finish you can feel the care which was put into designing the characters and worlds within each puzzle. The relaxing soundtrack mixes seamlessly with the gameplay as you slingshot between the orbits of different planet types, soaring across galaxies that showcase an aesthetic that lands somewhere between pastels and papercraft. The experience is nothing short of enrapturing.
Gameplay feels perfect for a controller. You have the option of using the directional pad, which would feel more akin to PC controls, or you can use the thumbstick for movement. which was my preference. As you are falling through orbit and launching yourself around planets, the smoothness of edging your trajectory in a new direction with the thumbstick just felt right. And as you progress, gaining new abilities to use during your astral travels, they each fell exactly where you would expect them to be on the controller.
Unlocking these new abilities adds a little variety to the puzzle types you cross as well. To obtain your skills you need to solve a hedge maze. A little geom is trapped in the center of the maze and you must lead it out by way of its attraction to you. These are the more challenging of the puzzle types, starting out as a simple two layer path and growing to five or more trails deep.
Despite the ease of the primary orbital puzzles and the hedge mazes only being once every dozen or so levels, I never once felt bored with the game. I always wanted to see what the next stage would look like, what the next critter character would be.
What you might dislike about Gravity Ghost
The story of Iona and Voy is short and sweet, but broken. You are only given a little snippet of story every several levels and while the graphics of the story are unique and the voice acting is well done, it is very hard to piece together what's happening. To start out there is a drive to find out more, to see what is happening to Iona and her family, but as you unlock the fragments, they don't always feel like they fit together in order. And as I approached the end of the game I had the constant feeling like I've somehow missed important information about how the story is meant to flow.
The ease of the orbital puzzle levels leaves something to be desired as well. While I never truly felt bored with Gravity Ghost, I also never felt properly challenged until nearly completing the game. Even after unlocking the ability to terraform planets, it was never hard to figure out what planet type you needed to reach your objective. It was only when I unlocked the bonus PS4 exclusive levels (reached by traveling through the rainbow shown above) that I actually had to slow down and consider what needed to be done. In fact I've yet to finish the bonus levels as one has continued to stump me. These extra levels are more inline with what I had expected and hoped to see toward the end of the game.
Should you buy Gravity Ghost? Yes
What very few complaints I had with Gravity Ghost paled in the sheer beauty of the game. While you may not feel a challenge when playing the base game, you do have an overwhelming sense of joy and relaxation as you glide through the lovingly crafted universe.
It isn't a long game but it is well worth the price, especially if you decide to play through the levels a second time once you've unlocked Voy. Fans of puzzlers shouldn't miss out on this one.
An Astral Journey
Floating freely through space
Leap into the sky and glide around each galaxy, jumping between planets orbits, meeting people and critters alike. Gravity Ghost is a quiet, calm and relaxing journey through space, a trip worth taking.
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