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Gravity Crash – The PS3Attitude Review

Submitted by on Tuesday, 1 December 2009One Comment

gravity crash ps3Gravity Crash takes a classic ‘old school’ space shooter premise (we’re  talking vintage arcade shoot ’em up gameplay) and fuses it with a stunning shiny next generation take on wireframe visuals.

The result is a wicked little game which sees you having to navigate open space, evil twisting tunnels, submerged underwater caverns and all manner of other hazardous environments in your trusty spaceship…

It may sound a lot like the a certain other shooter that launches on PSN imminently, but Gravity Crash brings its own unique blend of excitement for wannabe space pilots everywhere.

Let’s get one thing straight from the start though, Gravity Crash isn’t your average immediate ‘pick up and play’ blast-em-up. For my money Super Stardust HD is still king of the frantic action in space on the PSN, no, Gravity Crash requires some intense investment in learning how to fly, some thinking time about how to tackle differing goals and some patience as you try, fail, revise your strategy and try again. You need to know what you’re getting into here, but don’t let that put you off.

There are few games more satisfying once you hit the sweet spot and begin to tackle the various objectives which range from destroying enemy gun emplacements and baddie spaceships, collecting artefacts and power-ups and saving stranded crewmen to name but a few. It’s compulsive and exciting part twitch part zen control based gameplay where a steady hand is just as important as a keen aim.

Refreshingly, there are two completely different control methods on offer; either dual stick (left flies, right shoots) or ‘classic’ point n shoot with thrust mapped to a button. It takes a little while to master the controls after trying both I’m tending to favour the dual stick method but it’s lovely to have both options. There is great satisfaction to be had as you master the controls (noobs are likely to take a while but stick with it as eventually it just ‘clicks’) – the surfaces of the planets, for example, are insta-death if you touch them unless you pull off a gentle and perfectly level landing (which is how to pick up survivors).

The flying dynamics are decent as you need to balance your thrusting (oh er) against the titular ‘gravity’ which will suck you down to your doom otherwise.

Hardware wise your ship has a suitable mix of abilities. Lasers are the main offensive weapon and come with infinite ammo. Your basic ‘laser shot’ can be upgraded with various power-ups and is complemented by having a secondary ‘smart weapon’ which you get to choose in advance – my pick being the homing missile cloud.

Turning to defence, your ship has a shield which you can flick on at will to repel any and all damage coming your way but it doesn’t last forever, and once you’ve used it up you’ll have to wait for it to recharge.

Making things go 'boom' in space is fun!

Making things go 'boom' in space is fun!

There are a good range of levels over the 30+ initial planets to explore, each with varying challenges and goals and glossed with psychedelic wireframe visuals using advanced special effects. What special effects you ask? Well try heat haze, refraction, blurs and laser blinks – the art style is highly engaging to the eyeballs and tugs on the nostalgia factor of those many many 10ps spent in arcades in the ‘80s.

20 trophies of various difficulties await you and seem nicely balanced. Multiplayer fun is catered for up to four pilots locally with a quirky dog fighting deathmatch mode, a bonus level gem collect-em-up mode and the pick of bunch – a funky race mode which evokes its own old school Megadrive-esq era nostalgia.

Best of all though is the fact that there is a comprehensive level editor mode – which is easy to use and intuitive. The user generated content is already stacking up nicely demonstrating the imagination of PS3 games know few bounds. In fact the PS3 is the undoubted home of user creation on consoles with Little Big Planet, ModNation Racers, Buzz Quiz, Unreal Tournament III and now this…

Let’s hope that Just Add Water will kick out some Gravity Crash downloadable content in the future which could add new features to play with in both the game and the creation function. There are rumoured wallpapers and other Gravity Crash goodies on their way to the PlayStation Store so the signals are encouraging for continued support.

Final Verdict

Gravity Crash is a great game and certainly worthy of your attention. If you’re prepared to invest some time into getting the controls mastered, this is one downloadable game that will give you hours of fun gameplay. It might not have the edge against the even more brilliant Pixel Junk Shooter (review coming tomorrow) but the level creation element makes this a ‘must buy’ for space shooter fans.