Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 06.11.2019

Review for Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition on PlayStation 4

When people think indie, they tend to think weird. Sure, indie games aren't all bizarre, and not every weird game is an indie one - but in general, when people think indie, they think Braid or Hotline Miami; games that almost fit a traditional mould, but end up doing something outside the norm with it. Gravity Ghost Deluxe Edition fits that description well enough, but what other adjectives would be used to best describe it? Perhaps cute, gorgeous... and very frustrating.

Gravity Ghost Deluxe Edition is a puzzle platformer where you play Iona; a ghost drifting through space, collecting stars, and trying to find her fox friend, Voy. It is broken up into small levels strung across a large map, where the player has to solve light puzzles and progress to multiple guardians. To avoid spoilers, these guardians help Iona piece together her own story, which is told in a non-linear fashion. This is largely told through collecting animal spirits and returning them to their skeletons, generally needing to carry them across multiple levels in order to reunite the spirit with the body. On the way, there are multiple interesting gameplay mechanics that are introduced in order to keep things feeling fresh.

Screenshot for Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition on PlayStation 4

Large planets have a stronger gravitational pull, air planets bounce the player around if they are hit with enough momentum, and there are even collectible power-ups that make Iona's travels even easier. As a whole, this is, for the most part, a fine experience. Figuring out how to interact with different planet types and using the various power-ups, called geoms, is a refreshing twist on a gameplay mechanic that's been under-utilized since Super Mario Galaxy. Levels are also extremely short, at most taking a few minutes to figure out, with the majority running at around 30 seconds. Once you have a feel for everything, early levels, and even some later ones, take a few seconds to beat at most.

Aside from that, the game is never really that hard (save from the challenge levels which boost the difficulty) significantly, and the geoms make even the toughest of levels trivial. It's kind of weird that they aren't on the main path, because some levels feel like they absolutely require them. You could theoretically get all the way to the fire planets for instance without ever grabbing the geom that makes you heavy. Because of this, you'll have to return to the early level and unlock it, as it's pretty much mandatory to proceed.

Screenshot for Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition on PlayStation 4

This need to backtrack would be frustrating if this wasn't so short. At most, it will take two hours to plow through everything, except the challenge levels of course. There's not a ton of replayability, though one can always play through again as Voy upon completion. This ups the difficulty a bit, as Voy feels much lighter than Iona. This isn't the most fun though as Iona already feels a bit off. Most of the levels that take longer to finish as spent just trying to land on the planet you need to leave. Really, this is the most frustrating part of the whole game. Iona's weightlessness feels accurate, but ultimately annoying. Watching her fly around the screen while you stumble to aim her to where you want to go is a problem any title like this would probably suffer from, but it doesn't make it any less irritating.

Iona's hair grows as you collect flowers, and you'll need this to terraform planets. You will unlock multiple types of terraforms, such as fire and water. This means the player can turn any planet into any element, changing its properties. The terraform mechanic isn't very enjoyable, unfortunately. In order to change a planet, you have to switch to the proper element then walk around the planet. This leaves an element chain of sorts, which seems prone to breaking very easily, requiring you to start over from wherever you are at. Weirdly, it will sometimes switch the planet over without completing the chain either.

Screenshot for Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition on PlayStation 4

The worst element available water, as it renders Iona sluggish. Escaping from or terraforming a water planet is slow and frustrating, and it's often easier to just return to the map and start over. Other elements like gem, which creates an intense magnetic field, also stand out as weak points, though again, elements like fire or air are generally enjoyable enough to make these weaker elements more of an annoyance than a reason to walk away entirely.

The story is fairly good, and the art style is gorgeous. Iona's tale of grief and angst is well told overall, though the nonlinear format seems fairly needless. It seems like it's meant to highlight Iona's broken memories, but since much of it is hidden behind collectibles, which can be gotten in any order, it feels like an unnecessary creative decision more than anything. The sound design is good in terms of the soundtrack itself. However, the voice acting is largely just serviceable, and comes off amateurish most of the time. Still, the characters are a treat pretty universally, and there are some genuinely funny moments within the game. Not "ha-ha" funny, but cute funny.

Screenshot for Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Gravity Ghost Deluxe Edition is an art piece that is enjoyable for what it is. Playing it is honestly the weakest part of the whole thing, though it does manage to be fun from time to time. The creative display on work here is a clear winner, even if not every idea feels like it works in the end product. As a whole, this isn't a must-play, but for fans of something a little different, it is a decent jaunt around the universe.

Developer

Ivy Games LLC

Publisher

Ivy Games LLC

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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