Every so often during a gaming event, you come across a game tucked away in a corner that people seem ready and willing to ignore. In some instances the lack of attention is warranted, but sometimes they represent a true glimmer of ingenuity within the onslaught of sequels, explosions, and cookie cutter franchises. Gravity Rush (known as Gravity Daze in Japan), developed by Japan Studio, was a wonderful surprise and it was a shame the game did not have greater representation at PlayStation’s Spring Showcase.
Gravity Rush revolves around a young woman named Kat who lives in a floating city and mysteriously gains the ability to defy gravity (there is also an unexplained “gravity storm” and enemies called the “Nevi” that Kat must defeat in order to protect the people of her home city). At first the gravity defying gameplay was disorienting but the game’s logical design quickly became apparent.
The player can make Kat float by pressing the right bumper. While she’s floating, the player can aim her (either by using tilt controls or by using the analogue sticks) at an object or building and send her careening in the direction the reticule is aimed. Kat will “stick” to whatever surface she comes in contact with during flight. Using her powers, she can walk along walls, on the underside of bridges, up lampposts and so forth.
However, Kat can only use her gravity-defying abilities for a short time; once her power meter runs out she will plummet to the ground. We also managed to these powers to pick up objects and fling them at enemies. Kat can also perform a powerful flying kick by floating in the air and attacking an enemy.
All this gravity manipulation might get old fast, but the game’s ingenuity became apparent when we completed a story mission requiring stealth. The mission was simply to get to a location and steal an object without being spotted by the police.
Since Kat does not have any special stealth skills she needs to rely on her ability to walk along walls and the sides of objects in order to avoid detection. This means the player needs to strategically and carefully plan out where to sneak past the police, dictating a more thoughtful approach than simply making Kat blast through the environment.
The game also boasts gorgeous visuals, beautiful comic-book/anime style cutscenes, and an intuitive touchscreen world-map. Gravity Rush seems like a game that uses the Vita intelligently without forcing Vita based controls on the player. Gravity Rush could be just the kind of game Sony needs to promote in order to entice gamers to pick up a Vita.
Gravity Rush launches in North America on June 12th, exclusively on the PlayStation Vita.