Not enough madness to go around.
In Gravity Racing Madness, you control a small ball rolling along an undulating landscape. You have seven seconds to get from one checkered flag to the next, each interval representing one of 70 twisting, topsy-turvy levels. If you fail to make it in time, the game puts you back to the start of the last level you completed and sets you on your way to do it again.
Rolling downhill is easy enough, but rolling uphill is a different matter entirely thanks to the pesky business of gravity. Fortunately, Gravity Racing Madness lets you get around that little problem by allowing you to turn the level – and gravity – upside-down by simply tapping the screen.
It sounds simple, and to be honest it is simple, but it also takes some getting used to because reversing gravity doesn’t actually change anything on the screen except for the color of the spare, vector-style graphics. In the normal orientation, everything is pale blue and the ball rolls downhill, but it all becomes a dull red when the world is reversed, and the ball rolls uphill instead. It can be a disorienting, especially when the ball reaches a checkpoint and suddenly starts rolling in the opposite direction, as it does every four or five levels.
Complicating things further are the giant buzzsaw blades that occasionally protrude from the ground, causing instant death when touched. The only way around them is to roll past them in the reversed world, but in higher levels that sometimes mandates a lengthy roll uphill, so you’ll need to be sure you have either a good head of steam built up or a healthy collection of “boosts” that will give you a short, sharp shove in the appropriate direction.
It’s an amusing little diversion, but it suffers from a number of rather serious flaws. For one, it’s very short. 70 levels sounds like a lot but I just blew through the first 41 in about 15 minutes and probably could have wrapped it up completely in another ten if not for the second problem: Sooner or later you’ll need the aforementioned boosts to make it past an area and since the supply is limited and there’s no way to replenish them aside from picking them up in designated spots along your travels, if you happen to run out, you’re stuck.
The one upside to the game being so short is that it helps compensate for the fact that there’s no save function. No matter how far you make it into the game, if you exit, you’ll start all the way back at level 1 the next time you play. We’re not talking about hours of lost gameplay here but getting up to a high level and having to quit because your bathroom break is over, and then coming back later to find yourself forced to start over from the very beginning, is potentially very frustrating. High scores are tracked but they can’t be shared with anyone, and more confusingly there doesn’t appear to be any way to register a score unless you actually finish the game – and again, if you exit the game or are somehow interrupted, everything resets to zero.
Gravity Racing Madness is an interesting concept, but also utterly one-dimensional and literally everything it has to offer can be seen in under a minute. It’s free, so there’s no harm in taking the tour, but why anyone would keep this on their phone for more than a day, or a lunch break, is beyond me.