Gravity Crash Review
Posted by Sammy Barker
Just Add Water's Gravity Crash is a retro-inspired dual-joystick shooter with a tinge of Sony's "Play Create Share" genre thrown in
The shooter includes a complete level editor, allowing you to create entire levels and share them online with other players.
Gravity Crash takes a futuristic, neon spin on the retro-space shooters of old, setting you target objectives at the start of each level, and using clever level design to create a challenge. As the game's title suggests: floaty, exaggerated physics are key to the game's personality - but getting a feel for gravity mechanics can take a while. Gravity Crash requires finesse, rather than twitch, and it can take a while for that to sink in.
Aswell as a complete single-player campaign, Gravity Crash offers local multiplayer deathmatch and race modes, alongside a level editor and leaderboards.
Media Molecules "Play Create Share" tagline has become a big draw for Sony. The genre, which has basically been untouched by competing platforms thus far, has become a staple-mark for Sony's PSN community focus. With two iterations of LittleBigPlanet allowing gamers to create platform levels, and custom racing tracks on the horizon with Modnation Racers; Gravity Crash aims to fill a void by allowing players to create their own dual-stick shooter levels. The customisation options are quite powerful. Alongside the ability to create aesthetic instances on your levels, you'll also be able to create specific mechanics. Mechanics give your levels objectives and sub-objectives. For example, on a level we created while testing out the editor, we made the objective to destroy a battery cell. However, upon the destruction of the battery cell, we created a trigger instance that raised the levels of lava on the level. Naturally, lava is dangerous, so the core idea of our level meant you had to destroy the target and then escape from the hazard. It's a very simple example, but it shows what can be done with the level editor. The single-player campaign includes some great inspiration for creating little puzzles on your own levels. However, don't go into Gravity Crash expecting limitless amounts of freedom. There's enough scope to make your levels creative and original, but this is no LittleBigPlanet.
Gravity Crash is underscored by some really dirty synth-led audio mixes. The game has a grimey, electronic sound, that feels fresh but pays more than a subtle nod at retro inspiration. The game has some great melodies that are likely to get stuck in your head long after you've put down the controller.
Gravity Crash epitomises minimalist. Unlike the other great dual-stick shooter on PSN, Super Stardust HD, Gravity Crash is content with stark colours, and simple vector-esque lines and contours. The use of bright, neon colours, really suit the game's retro-futuristic style. Great effects add to the eye candy.
It's really disappointing to see a lack of community options attached to Gravity Crash's level editor. Was it wrong to come into Gravity Crash expecting LittleBigPlanet-esque functionality from the game's community options? We expected each level to have leaderboards, level ratings and statistics, and some robust filter functionality — but instead the Share aspect is very weak. You can "Vote" for creator's by hitting Start on their level, but that's about as far as the community goes. We couldn't find a way to see how many votes we'd got during our review time, and were really disappointed that levels didn't come with comments and statistics. Still - perhaps that's a fault of our own. Gravity Crash is only £6.29 afterall. Personally speaking though, we'd swap the lengthy single-player campaign for more community functions.
Despite having some good inspiration for creators, we couldn't help but feel the Gravity Crash single-player campaign lacked oomph. Boss fights are infrequent, the difficulty tends to spike, and missions are repetitive search and destroy affairs. We would have preferred a single-player campaign half the length, with the extra development time spent on the community.
Gravity Crash is a decent dual-stick shooter with an excellent level editor. It's just a shame the notion of "Play Create Share" is unhinged by the limited community options available.