Gravity Rush

Falling Down Never Felt So Exciting
by Kyle Hilliard on Apr 06, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio
Rating: Teen
Platform: PlayStation Vita

Gravity Rush is one of the strong players in the Vita’s initial lineup, and even though it slipped from the launch window, it’s still worth keeping an eye on.

Our demo begins with players taking control of Kat, an amnesiac with weird clothing who talks to cats. Losing your memory occurs in video games about as often as you reload your clip in Call of Duty, but the story crutch serves its purpose by offering a mystery to solve and a valid excuse to hold the player’s hand through a tutorial. Little of the story was offered in our demo, but it seems unlikely that it will be the force that keeps players motivated to complete the game. That job is in the hands of the gravity control.

With a tap of the shoulder button, Kat can eliminate the gravity from around her, making herself (and whatever is surrounding her) float into the air. If you’re standing next to a group of people, they will rise into the air and float around helplessly. While floating midair, you can look around with the right stick, take aim, and press the shoulder button again to go barreling towards your destination. You essentially remove gravity, and then rotate it depending on your chosen destination. This gravity manipulation only applies to the area surrounding Kat, so even though you will fling yourself toward the side of the building and begin running up the wall, you will still see regular people walking around on the street as the laws of ­physics ­intend.

You can also shift gravity for combat purposes. Instead of simply flying toward a destination with the tap of the shoulder button after removing gravity, you can press the square button to send yourself feet first toward an enemy. Outside of this empowering attack, the combat seems simple in a welcoming way. Just tap away on square to kick everything that poses a threat.

Along with an interesting gravity shifting mechanic, the game also has a unique art style. It’s comparable to other Japanese games with cel-shaded anime-style art, but Gravity Rush separates itself with its color scheme. It favors deep, dark reds and purples in lieu of the bright primary colors seen in games of a similar style.

Moving gravity around to serve your own purposes feels like flight, but in a way that doesn’t offer too much freedom. The restrictions of having to shift gravity as opposed to simply flying into the air lend a dangerous weight to the world. You’re not flying into the air, you’re falling upward, and that means that if you don’t catch yourself, things could go terribly wrong.

Most of the offerings on the Vita so far have been familiar but enjoyable games like Uncharted and Katamari. I’m more than happy to play new versions of those games on new hardware, but Gravity Rush feels different than anything I’ve played on any system, and I can’t wait to dive up into the air and spend more time with it.

Gravity Rush will be available exclusively on the PlayStation Vita on June 12.