Anyone who has played Terry Cavanagh’s recent indie darling VVVVVV should be instantly familiar with the gameplay offered in That Gravity Game. This new flash puzzler borrows its core mechanic from the popular indie platformer and creates a gripping, gravity-flipping experience that offers up a great deal of fun and challenge. What it lacks in originality, That Gravity Game makes up in enjoyment.
Like the aforementioned VVVVVV, the gameplay here is all about changing the direction of gravity. Your little marshmallow man needs to navigate to an exit, and at first these exits may appear unreachable. To get to them you’ll need to walk into a field of arrows that will change the very nature of gravity. It sounds heavy, I know – but all that really means is you’ll now be walking on the ceiling or walking on the walls.
While the position of the screen never changes, the way you’ll look at what’s on there will. If your character is now standing upside down on the ceiling, you need to treat that as if it’s the floor. You’ll be jumping onto platforms that were previously ceilings, and able to avoid obstacles that had previously meant certain death – and this game is full of obstacles that mean certain death.
Spiky ceilings, pits of acid – the road ahead for your little marshmallow man has never been more treacherous. As the levels progress you’ll find that the challenge progresses right alongside it. Once you’ve mastered the basics, That Gravity Game isn’t afraid to throw some intensely difficult situations your way. No puzzle ever seems unsolvable – if anything figuring out what to do is usually a piece of cake. The real challenge is in executing the moves you know you need to make. With moving platforms and nearby obstacles, it can be incredibly difficult to complete a level without giving it a few tries first.
The gameplay is a blast, but the whole package here is far from perfect. The gravity-flipping fun is framed by a weak story about an evil marshmallow falling into a computer – something which you’ll likely forget by the second stage. The presentation is overly simple as well, and the music provides an obnoxious techno beat that quickly had us reaching for our mute buttons.
The physics are also a little wonky, despite your playing a man made of marshmallow. When he jumps it almost has a ‘lighter than air’ feel, making it incredibly difficult to navigate tricky and tight situations. Still – we’re just glad he could jump. If he couldn’t, the core gameplay found here would be nearly indistinguishable from VVVVVV.
That Gravity Game offers up a fun gravity-based platformer that has a good level of difficulty without ever crossing into the realm of frustration. We would have loved it if our marshmallow man felt a little bit weightier, but once you get used to you realize that the physics of your character are a big part of the challenge. If it doesn’t have you dancing on the ceilings, you can always take comfort in knowing that your character can do it for you.