Gravity Rush was first released in Japan and was met with some overwhelming praise by critics and gamers alike due to its unique gameplay mechanics. As the name implies, you twist gravity to navigate the beautifully realized steampunk world. It’s actually quite a refreshing and ambitious game considering it’s on a portable device.
Vita’s OLED screen has always been hailed as something exceptional and while playing this game you will know why. The visuals simply pop out of the screen as you soar through the skies, collecting gems, defeating enemies, or simply checking out what the massive connected game world has to offer. It’s the sort of unique experiences that Sony’s embattled platform needs right now; which not only takes full advantage of what the platform has to offer, but also manages to showcase its strengths in a way other platforms cannot replicate easily.
The game’s main protagonist called Kat has a companion called Dusty – a cat which allows her to shift gravity. The game begins with Kat having no memory of who or where she is, and slowly comes to terms with her powers as the game gives you an emphatic rescue mission, which also introduces you to Kat’s enemies called Nevi.
It will be slightly overwhelming in the beginning as you come to grips with Kat’s gravity powers and learn how to navigate the city. The controls being a little complicated to learn, requires you to adjust and invest some time before becoming proficient at it; this will take you anywhere between an hour or two. There are chances that people will be perplexed by the complexity of it all and that eventually ends up negatively influencing their gameplay experience, and it’s something that can be termed as a make or break situation.
As you roam around the city soaking in the visuals, you will realize how ‘active’ and fascinating it is. The streetlights glow with a certain charm that fills your heart with joy as you are transported to the world heavily immersed due to the fantastic visuals. The art design is clearly top notch with unique areas, and if you are simply flying around visiting obscured areas to collect gems, the effort put in creating these environments is clearly visible. It’s also a testament to Vita’s hardware and for a portable device this is a monumental achievement.
The gems that you collect can be used for upgrading Kat’s abilities. It can also be used for unlocking new areas, which subsequently allows you to partake in more challenge events, giving you a shot at earning more gems – provided you get the gold medal of course. It won’t be that easy, as that requires you to master the controls and make Kat dance at your fingertips.
Kat has a variety of gravity powers at her disposal, including special moves that will obliterate a Nevi if you use it right. The most used ability for me was the Gravity Kick which, if used well, can dispatch a lot of Nevi without even requiring you to land on the ground. It takes a little practice navigating the cursor to the Nevi’s weakpoint while the auto-targeting system takes care of the rest.
The story is told via comic style cutscenes which requires you to flick the Vita’s screen. It’s charming, and you have the ability to change costumes while saving the game at your home. Yes, you have to save your game after finding a home. There’s an auto-save mechanic as well, and if you forget to do the main missions regularly and spend a lot of time collecting gems, make sure you don’t quit the game; if you do, be prepared to tear your hair in frustration.
The camera can sometimes be disorienting, especially during a combat sequence. Sometimes you can completely spaz out and have no clue what you’re doing. It’s normal, though. The game world can totally change in an instant as you fly in a weird way. Kat obviously needs more time to fly like Superman, instead spinning like a first-time skydiver getting mauled by air is somewhat realistic, too, considering she was oblivious to her powers at the start of the game.
Navigating the city is quite straightforward and there’s a nifty little map which you can access along with a myriad of options available to make the game a little accessible. The city is something that floats in the sky, so if you end up finding your self losing control of Kat and you will be sucked in a gravity pulling hole sort of a thing, which teleports you back to a safe place. Of course, you do not have unlimited energy to soar in the air, and it will require some time to charge – which is upgradable – before you can take control of Kat again.
The game offers you a lot of challenges which increases the replayability factor, but if you do not attempt those, it will still take you 8-10 hours to beat the game – which is quite fantastic for a portable game of this magnitude. Gravity Rush is a killer app for the Vita; one that not only oozes a lot of charm and creativity, but also provides some much-needed diversion for people who own the system.
This game was reviewed on the PS Vita.
Beautiful visuals. Varied locations. Game is quite lengthy. Challenge modes are fun. Upgrade system is addictive. Game offers you a lot of freedom, and the missions are paced well.
Combat can be disorienting due to the camera. High learning curve. Enemies could have been designed better.