|System: Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Deep Silver||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Deep Silver||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to the main game, Gravity gives you five sandbox areas to play with, unlocked after every 20 puzzle levels completed. They're simple levels with various objects strewn about that offer players the opportunity to tinker with the game's physics engine. It's a neat, little novelty, and though the physics generally work fine here, they're not on par with Oxtob's Pocket Physics (the homebrew application referred to earlier in this article). Objects are often jittery and unwieldy, and the levels aren't designed to give you much actual freedom with which to experiment.
Wrapping up Gravity's package is the Party Mode, which is comprised of three mini-games. The first of the three minis is Tallest Tower, and here you're tasked with using objects to create as tall a structure as possible within an allotted time. Since you'll be placing objects using the exact same interface as Gravity's main puzzle levels, Tallest Tower ranks in as a total bust.
The second mini-game is called Up 'N' Over, and here you'll, thankfully, be using only the stylus to shoot balls into baskets for points. Rather than being limited by time, Up 'N' Over simply limits the number of balls you have to work with. You use the stylus to aim a cannon toward baskets, then pull away from the cannon to build up power; release and your ball goes flying.
The last of the three mini-games is Clear the Decks. Like Up 'N' Over, you'll use a cannon to lob balls, but this time your goal is to hit colored blocks. You are randomly given balls of varying colors, and only blocks of the same color can be cleared when hit. Unfortunately, none of the minis are all that entertaining, and the novelty is very short-lived.
It doesn't help that Gravity's production values are ultra-simplistic and a bit lifeless. Eerie music pervades most levels, but it's not nearly enough to spike Gravity with even a modicum of excitement. Sound effects are plain, and the experience overall feels more like a series of dry experiments than a game. Backgrounds are attractive, but aside from gameplay objects moving about the screen, everything looks and feels very static - ironic for a physics-based game.
Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity is a novel idea for a DS puzzle game, and it could have been something quite special. There are glimpses of World of Goo here, and the music and art style seem to suggest the developers were looking to hit a similar gaming motif. However, the end product is very plain Jane, and a poorly conceived interface makes working out puzzles a frustrating, and often painful, process. The game is mildly entertaining for the meager few hours it lasts, but if you're into the homebrew scene, you've already got access to something far more entertaining - and free, I might add.
CCC Freelance Writer