Gravity Rush is a hard game to describe. How many other games do you know of where a cat follows you around, giving your character gravity defying powers? It’s not even like it’s a special cat, since she can’t even talk, instead only giving you the odd ‘Meow’ now and again.
Non-talking cats aside, Gravity Rush is the best game you’ll play on the PS Vita to date, which is something you’ll find out for yourself from the moment you lay eyes on it.
The storyline is blended together with comic book-style cut scenes, having you slide each section with your fingers in order to progress and find out your main task and sees you playing as a character known as Kat. When we join her we find that she has lost her memory and is now residing in the floating town of Hekseville. As with most games, she soon finds that trouble isn’t too far away thanks to the appearance of a Gravity Storm which is tearing the town apart and separating people from their families. To add to this drama, creatures known as Nevi also appear, leaving Kat no choice but to team up with the gravity touting feline and save the day.
During the main action, you’ll use a combination of gravity and devastating attacks to fight your way through some of the most bizarre missions you’ve ever seen, although on the flip side, you’ll also need to sort out your makeshift house by wandering around the town to acquire some furniture. Yes it’s all a bit strange really, but it’s a feature packed adventure.
The main pull of Gravity Rush is the gravity-control mechanic which can be used to fly through the air, walk on walls and attack the enemy. It’s a great mechanic which makes fantastic use of the PlayStation Vita’s gyroscope. First you press the right shoulder button, which sees Kat float above the ground and makes a reticule appear in the middle of the screen. You can then use the right stick or the Vita to aim the on-screen reticule, pressing the right shoulder button once more to fly at speed towards your target. If you’d like to stop in mid-air and change direction, then another press of the right shoulder button will accomplish this. One thing to beware of is that the ability to defy gravity is limited, so you’ll need to make sure Kat’s always above land when the gravity meter is low; either that or you’ll need to collect one of the many gems which replenish her ability mid-flight.
Once Kat lands, be it on the side of a building or the underside of a bridge, that surface becomes the floor, allowing you to run around it in any direction you wish. Turning off gravity with the left shoulder button will mean that Kat falls back down to earth, although providing she has some sort of surface below her she’ll survive the fall.
Combat in Gravity Rush is a satisfying experience. Using the same method mentioned above, you’ll float into the air and then use the reticule to aim at your enemy. The further away you are, the more powerful the attack will be. To pull off an attack you simply aim and hit the attack button, sending Kat spiralling through the air at the Nevi’s weak spot (generally it’s one big eye). Given that enemies get tougher the longer you play, Kat does gain new and more devastating attacks, allowing you to pull off moves such as Gravity Strike, which homes in on the enemy, destroying them with multiple blows.
As well as combat, Gravity Rush also provides players with some role-playing elements, allowing you to upgrade Kat’s other skills over time. This means, for example, that you can expand the Gravity Meter for a longer flight time or concentrate on other areas. Kat will also gain other abilities as you play through, such as the excellent Gravity Slide. The first time you see this is about halfway through the game when you find yourself forever falling in a sort of mystical land. This section of the game has you touching the bottom left and right of the screen as you slide at speed along a path while using the gyroscope to stay on course. I don’t want to say too much about this section, as this and others like it play a large part in the overall plot of the game, but lets just say that it certainly helps to mix things up.
The main missions in Gravity Rush are quite varied, one minute you’ll be stealthily sneaking past guards, or chasing down a random student in order to find out some information, while at other times you’ll be helping find a boy’s father or fighting against a large creature which has half devoured a young girl. Other missions, as mentioned briefly above, take you away from the city entirely.
It’s not all about the main mission though as Gravity Rush also introduces side missions, be it Time Attack battles, Fetch quests or Navigation trials. These areas of the game aren’t perhaps as varied as they could have been but are certainly a welcome addition and change to the main quest, especially if you are on a short journey and perhaps don’t have time to continue the main storyline.
One of the most enjoyable parts of Gravity Rush is wandering through its cel-shaded districts which are full of people to talk to and fantastic looking architecture, all of which is backed up by an equally wonderful musical score. Although the city is largely non-interactive, it’s still a sight to behold with its bright colours and gorgeous backdrops. It’s just so much fun hitting the gravity button and heading to the highest point to look around, almost reminding me of all the time I spent doing a similar thing in Microsoft’s Crackdown. Another bonus to the game is that the city is forever changing, because as you progress through the missions the city will come back to life, allowing you do things like take the train or the air bus.
Gravity Rush to me is the perfect handheld experience, it gives you the ability to shape your character and also provides a lengthy campaign which will more than keep you entertained. Adding to this is the side quests and the sprawling open world, which is just as fun to float around in as it is to adventure in.
As soon as you lay eyes on Gravity Rush you’ll be begging for Sony to release more games like it on the PlayStation Vita. It’s the title that the machine has been begging for ever since it hit our shores. Sure there are great games out there, but there is nothing like this. Gravity Rush is beautiful, inventive, unique and a must have game for Vita owners.
Rating: OutstandingReview Policy(version tested: PS Vita)
Gravity Rush is well worth your time, so place your pre-order today.