Full disclosure: I'm a sucker for JRPGs, and for games with an interesting art style. Gravity Rush
is both of those things, so if you're not into the wonderful weirdness of a Japanese story, you might as well stop reading right here - you're probably not going to like the game.
is an open-world action RPG that features a teenage girl named Kat who finds herself in a strange, floating city. The city is slowly being torn apart, as it's sucked piece by piece into what appear to be black holes. Kat's memory has been wiped, and she has no idea who she is or how she got there.
A mysterious glittery cat approaches Kat - yes, Kat 's companion is a cat - and adopts her. This glittery cat also magically grants Kat the power to alter the gravity of the area immediately surrounding her. It's all very Sailor Moon
at first. Most people stay on the ground when she shifts gravity, but she flies into the air, pulling anyone and anything nearby with her. She might land on the side of a building, or under an overhang. She walks up walls and ceilings, and sometimes you can barely tell which way is up. Because of her powers, she gets designated the role of returning the missing bits and pieces of the city, and also of fighting the Nevi, creatures that have turned up to terrorise the city.
The concept is a new and interesting one, and it's nice to experience something that revolves around one solid, innovative game mechanic. Everything Kat can do revolves around altering gravity - she can fly through the air from afar to kick an enemy, or use an ability that essentially creates a black hole and deals damage - kind of like the 'Demi' spell in early Final Fantasy
games. The powers give everything a fantastical, dream-like quality
In order to level up these abilities, Kat has to collect gems. One of the developers working on Gravity Rush
recently said that the game he was most influenced by was Crackdown
, and you can see that game's hallmarks. There are gems everywhere - on rooftops, under balconies, up the side of a tower - and to finish the game you'll have to collect as many as possible.
To get extra gems, you complete sidequests. If you can call them 'quests' - you just race through checkpoints as quickly as possible using your gravity powers. Yes, every single one of the optional quests is a race. Otherwise, the game is very linear.
is also unapologetic in its refusal to explain everything. Why is the cat magical? Why does it choose Kat to grant powers to? Why have Kat's enemies, the monsterous Nevi, appeared? What's the science behind gravity shifting? There are many questions, but Gravity Rush
only answers half of them. Because the game isn't rooted in anything resembling reality, it's not necessary to explain everything. But there was one major question that I desperately wanted a firmer answer to: who is Kat, really?
The art style in Gravity Rush
is classic Anime, except for the dark, muted colour scheme. There's a lot of purple and pink, but it somehow manages to not be obnoxious like another recent Japanese release, Catherine
. Cutscenes are done in comic strip form, but the strips interact with the Vita's features in a new and very cool way. When you move the Vita around with the gyrocope, the images in the foreground of the comic pop out to create an almost 3D effect. As such, the comics were never static.
One problem with the comics is the voice work that accompanies them - it's in Japanese, with English subtitles. It's not a dealbreaker, as it doesn't make the game any more confusing, but it makes the English version of the game seem like it was created pretty lazily. Fortunately, there's very little voice work to begin with, as most things are explained in text.
definitely has some flaws, but the game mechanic and how it's used in combat make up for them - mostly. Despite the game's problems, I found myself returning to it again and again for more gravity-defying fun, even though I had plenty of more time-sensitive games to get on with and review. Plot holes aside, it's a thoroughly unique game, and the most fun I've had on my Vita.