Gravity Ghost Review
Gravity Ghost starts with an intro scene that looks straight out of a children’s book. Colourful and vibrant, drawn with what looks like a mixture of pastel and crayons, the art style immediately stands out. You’re greeted by a young girl and her fox companion resting on top of a planet before the fox slowly disappears into the cosmos while the girl beckons for him. You play as Iona, who realizes that a black hole has appeared in the center of her universe where she can see her friends and family back on earth.
At its core, Gravity Ghost is a tale of innocence. How children have boundless freedom without the constraints of consequences weighing on their minds. Iona was a rambunctious child, who befriended a wild fox, takes long journeys in the middle of the nights with no regard for her sister Hickory, who gave up her future to take care of the family after the tragic death of their parents. Iona throws blame to those who care for her, desperately trying to hide her pain, acting out in ways that hurt her loved ones. As you watch through the wonderfully drawn cutscenes, it conveys to you memories that all adults can relate to through their childhood. Newfound emotions and how much they can impact a child for the rest of their life. Gravity Ghost does this with such relative ease that it can make you forget that Iona is just a drawing on a screen, as well drawn as it may be.
Gameplay consists of physics-based puzzle platforming where you control Iona flying through space and navigating past all different kinds of planets that affect the push and pull of gravity while dancing back and forth like clockwork. Each level has a star piece that lets you complete the level—how you decide to grab the star piece is all up to you. This is where the game holds most of its charm: as you fly around in limbo, there are no deaths to be had here, no frustrating moments, just a zen-like experience that’s as relaxing as it is soothing with its wonderfully crafted soundtrack reminiscent of the composer’s work on FTL crossed with the childlike joy of Yann Tiersen’s earlier work.
As you travel through star systems through the overview of the map, the game uses its art style with small markers to clue you in on levels that will progress the story line or add to the mechanics that Iona can use to alter gravity. Iona can find spirit animals scattered throughout the galaxy and it’s only with her help that they can return to their bodies and find the peace to move on. Anytime you help an animal move onto the afterlife, a cutscene is shown depicting life when Iona was still on Earth with her family. These cutscenes slowly reveal the circumstances that lead to Iona becoming a ghostly spirit alone in space. Iona contemplates these unlocked memories and laments over past actions and words that she now regret. It’s the Guardian Spirits who guide her forward, each spirit being a representation of a loved one in her past life.
Iona gains the ability to terraform planets by finding different elements unlocked through solving labyrinth puzzles. Terraforming planets changes the gravitational pull depending on the element. Fiery gas planets are explosive, pushing you up and away like a volcano while hesitating to pull you in. Water planets allow you to swim within its atmosphere and have a heavy pull, making it hard for you to leave its atmosphere without momentum. There are seven elements in total, each with its own unique gameplay element and opportunity to use any of them as you see fit to complete a level.
Gravity Ghost is refreshing and a breath of fresh air in a medium where killing zombies reigns supreme. In Gravity Ghost, failure isn’t a gameplay mechanic, giving you the liberty and freedom to take your time and play with the levels as long as you’d like. It’s the signature music that really drives the experience that you are child in awe of your surroundings. Her surroundings are playful and vibrant just like her imagination, allowing you to see through her eyes as if they were your own. Iona’s tale is emotional, a cry for help in the endless vastness of space, but in the end she finds her place in the cosmos. I highly recommend Gravity Ghost to players of all ages and experience; every purchase nets you two copies for yourself and a friend so you can share and enjoy!