Gravi is a puzzle platformer, not entirely like the well-loved Super Meat Boy. Like Super Meat Boy, it pits your mind and reflexes against sharp objects, dangerous pitfalls and molten lava. Like Super Meat Boy, your deaths are going far outnumber the amount of levels you complete.
With 40 levels of mayhem, Gravi is a game that is bound to keep genre fans’ attention.
Unlike Super Meat Boy, which was pretty much a straight platformer, Gravi does things slightly differently. The little blue ball you play as – Gravi – can’t jump. Instead, he fires out a little metal object with a gravitational pull. Within range, this gravitational pull will yank you to whatever you’ve attached it to, allowing you to bypass the myriad of things that will cause death if you touch them.
Of course, when the gravitational pull has you, it’s all or nothing. You need to let Gravi drop and either postition him between obstacles so that he’s safe, or collect the metal object and fire it to the next place you want to aim towards. As you progress, other obstacles will be introduced and you’ll find yourself less and less able to rely on a smartly placed shot.
40 levels sound like a lot, but the balance is a little off. The first few levels will just fly by, and even well into the game you’ll be completing levels first try and in less than a minute. When things get difficult, they get difficult quickly, and those who enjoyed the first set of level’s more gentle pace may find themselves out of their league.
For what it is, Gravi is a fun little game, but it lacks the reward of similar, difficult titles. I’ve found myself getting through part of the more difficult levels through luck, as opposed to muscle memory, and a focus on one or two really difficult parts and then a few simpler puzzles in a single level make for several spots of repetitiveness.
Graphics and Audio
For an alpha release, Gravi seems fine. There’s not a huge amount of variety in the graphical style, each background looks more or less the same and even the level design reuses assets, but hopefully they’ll shake things up as work progresses. The initial 40 levels should be enough to get the Gravi-love flowing, but I feel for the full release the developers are going to really need to shake things up if they want a hit on their hands.
The audio, again, is decent enough. It’s the sort of electro track you’ll have heard a million times on, for instance, the Net Yaroze disks for PS1. It’ll just blend into background noise before long.
Gravi is a great game, and is well worth checking out. The developers are letting people into the alpha for free, and are welcoming donations towards further work. It’s a very nice premise, delivered quite nicely, and I can see it growing into something of a cult hit. However, a little repetition and a general lack of “one more play” level design that made games like Super Meat Boy so addictive might, at this point, be a barrier from mainstream appeal.