GAME OF THE WEEK:12 cert, Sony/Japan Studio, PS Vita *****
Here’s a sign that you’re reviewing a special game: You glance down at your notes and all you see are superlatives. “Elegant” was the first word I wrote, followed by “cute”, “eminently playable” and “inventive”.
Gravity Rush is not only a pleasure to play, but it’s an encouraging reminder that familiar ideas can feel fresh. I didn’t think one of the most creative titles of the year would be an open-world superhero game.
Gravity – both literal and emotional – is the main theme here. The game opens with a nod to Newton’s falling apple, and introduces us to a young woman with amnesia. With cascading blonde locks and thick hair-band, Kat looks like an Anime version of Disney’s Alice; no coincidence, I’m sure.
Soon after waking, Kat discovers that she’s living in a strange, floating, disjointed city. She has also befriended a black cat with mysterious powers whom she names Dusty. Seemingly thanks to her feline friend, our hero can manipulate gravity. On a whim, she’s floating in the air, then picking a point and firing towards it like a little missile. This comes in handy when exploring the city from above (a captivating experience) and fighting the mysterious, shadowy, one-eyed monsters.
The graphics are gorgeous, with hand-drawn-style characters populating an imaginative steam-punk world. The story is decent and well-presented in pretty comic-strips, and Kat is a lovely central character – funny, vulnerable and likeable.
It plays like a dream too: The floating, falling and flying mechanics are gratifying and otherworldly, and add a fresh new take to traditional stealth, combat and exploration game-play. The open-world game allows for a satisfying variety: You can take part in little time-trials, wander around, help the people of the city by repairing old landmarks, or progress the story via action set-pieces. The game exploits the Vita’s capabilities perfectly. Tilt your handheld Vita to pick a point for Kat to fly to, and touch and swipe the screen at the appropriate moments.
Gravity Rush is easily my favourite Playstation Vita game so far; a charming and unique little treasure.