Gravity Crash Comic-Con 09 PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Jul 24, 2009
If you were to take the visual style of Geometry Wars, the control system of Asteroids and throw in a bit of Defender, you'd have Gravity Crash. High-quality, fantastic playing downloadable games were all over Sony's after hours Comic-Con gathering last night and Gravity Crash was one of the notables.
AM I DOING IT WRONG?
It's not an easy game to just pick up and play, however. In fact, Gravity Crash did a fantastic job of making me want to put down the controller and move onto something else after less than a minute. Granted, I hadn't played the tutorial yet, but when <i>any</i> game produces a game over screen after just 30 seconds of play, maybe there's something wrong. I gave Gravity Crash another chance, however, partially because it was my job to do so, partially because I felt embarrassed.
Luckily, Gravity Crash's charms emerge once you've done the stupidly obvious: a tutorial. The aforementioned description, however, remains on the money. From a distance, Gravity Crash looks just like Bizarre Creations' downloadable shooter. That's a good thing -- the retro-meets-HD techno look works. But the game does not actually control like Geometry Wars; movement is handled by gently thrusting around and aiming is not as simple as snapping the right analog stick in a desired direction. The ship has to be steered around like a big, floating space boat. There's a necessary period of adjustment and frustration.
GIVE IT TIME
But then the old school Asteroids skills kick in -- well, if you have 'em -- and Gravity Crash quickly adds yet another dash of nostalgia with elements of Defender. Scattered about the environments are poor, defenseless humans hoping you'll choose to save them rather than rain down a bucket of lasers. Nabbing them requires expert precision; there's no button to beam them up. Players must slowly thrust down to the surface and wait for their landing gear to unlock.
DECEPTIVE, BUT IN A GOOD WAY
If Gravity Gear sounds complicated for its kind, that's because it is. There's a solid learning curve before you become acquainted with its basics. Considering the aesthetic, that's probably too long. I was expecting Geometry Wars level simplicity and found something completely different. After adjusting, that's not a bad thing, but it's going to be hard explaining that to someone who doesn't know better.