Defy Gravity is a core action platformer that is a mix between Super Mario style platforming, Braid and Portal 2d. Kara, our heroine, has access to a unique gameplay mechanic that she uses to manipulate the world around her. Kara has a gun that is able to alter the laws of physics through the creation of pockets of gravity and anti-gravity.
What We Think
While the Portal 2D comparison is somewhat accurate, Defy Gravity also offers up a new take on physics-based armaments, making for a lighter-than-air romp.
One Celestial Body
Traveling through the vacuum of space, it simply takes too long to wait for large objects to determine gravitational forces. Fortunately, the game’s heroine, Kara, is packing her own Gs (and if the cover art is any indication, a pair of double Ds. Hiyoooo). The gravity gun allows Kara to manipulate gravity in two ways: A left-click on the mouse creates a blue gravity pocket, while a right-click creates a yellow anti-grav pocket (your first instinct might be to run through one, thus exiting through the other, but such is not the case). Moving the mouse will control a reticule that Kara will keep her gun trained on. Hold either mouse button to launch the well, and release the button to plant the well. The game also allows for the use of the Xbox 360 controller.
Many of the the hazards in the levels will require a balance of gravity and anti-gravity to surpass them. Some floor sections are energized, and demand a well-placed string of gravity wells to navigate. Long, narrow halls may be infested with enemy drones and mines, and only an anti-grav burst can send them scattering from the only path out of the area. Some chambers will require Kara to ride on a floating platform, using Gs and anti-Gs to “steer” through to the checkpoint.
She Just Went From Suck to Blow!
Both types of G-well will affect Kara, and can be dismissed by clicking the appropriate button. There is also a gravity shield that will negate the influence of any nearby gravity wells. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any protection from enemy projectiles. There are also short bursts available from Kara’s booster backpack, but its power is limited when compared to the push and pull of the G-wells.
Artificial gravity isn’t infinite: Firing a new blast of either force will diminish the previous burst (though level generated ones will remain). Kara can also only fire two of each type of blast before replenishing her store. To do this, she must touch solid ground. Later levels have far less terra firma than the training stages, and poor planning will result in a catastrophic death. Fortunately, checkpoints are frequent, and Kara will revive at the start of the last challenge she failed to traverse.
Once Upon a Time, Yada Yada Yada, The End. GO TO SLEEP!
While the gameplay is solid, there are a few drawbacks of note. The overall story almost seems like an afterthought. Kara finds a monument to an ancient race, long extinct. Within the ruin lies technology that will save mankind. It obviously didn’t keep the ancient aliens from shuffling off the mortal coil, so really, how good can it be?
The walking animations are choppy, and the death animation doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Hit any obstacle and Kara’s body will fly apart. It gets even more awkward when the gravity forces that govern every other aspect of the game have no impact whatsoever on Kara’s disembodied limbs.
The game also runs a little on the short side. At most, there is three hours of gameplay, though seasoned gamers will likely blaze through it in less time. For the price of USD $5.00, there could be a little more on offer.
It Ain’t Heavy
Short, and thus, bittersweet, Defy Gravity is a great physics-based platformer that offers a taste of what could certainly be fleshed out into meatier offerings in future games.