|System: Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EM Studios||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. 7, 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|
It's become a very common setup for a puzzle game: In a 2-D world, an item spawns in one place, and your job is to use the environment to guide it to another. Most recently, this was the idea behind the PC game Crayon Physics Deluxe and the Xbox LIVE Community title, Blow. Now this style of gameplay comes to the Wii via Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity.
In Gravity, the item that spawns is a ball (sometimes a motorized car), and your destination is a red button. The goal is to set up your various platforms, rolling eyeballs, and other items so that when the item spawns, it presses (or knocks something else into) the button. Solving the puzzles unlocks more puzzles; it also opens "sandbox" levels, in which there's no button, just items to play with. There are 100 puzzles and 20 sandbox levels total.
Puzzle fans will find a lot to like here, mainly the levels themselves, and for this reason it's worth a rental. Some of the solutions are downright mind-bending, demanding that you think hard about new ways to use pieces. These challenges are usually interspersed between easier levels, a difficulty pattern that keeps you from getting too frustrated. Some of the puzzles have multiple solutions, and every now and then you'll stumble onto a way to press the button that the developers almost certainly did not intend; this could be seen as a flaw, but it usually comes off as endearing.
Once you've solved the 100 puzzles and horsed around a little in the sandboxes, you can turn to Gravity's four pass-the-controller, party multiplayer modes. In Tallest Tower, you build as high as you can in a limited amount of time, the catch being that your structure must survive an "earthquake" at the end before the height is tallied. In Up and Down, you set a cannon's trajectory to shoot a ball into buckets of varying sizes (smaller buckets net you more points). In Clear the Decks, you shoot similar cannonballs into a bucket of blocks; each cannonball has a different color, and the goal is to hit the like-colored blocks in the bucket (which disappear and give you points). Finally, Tower Topple is the opposite of Up and Down; the tower is already there, and you try to knock it down using as few cannonballs as possible.
It's worth checking these mini-games out briefly, but they're unlikely to become the life of your next party. Building towers gets tedious in a hurry, and the cannonball levels are only interesting until you've gotten the feel for setting the trajectories. Clear the Decks can even get frustrating; sometimes it will be impossible to shoot a block of the same color as the ball, meaning you'll have to waste the ball.
The single-player mode only takes a few hours to get through, so the lame multiplayer means that Gravity isn't worth the $30 purchase price. What's more, aside from the level design, even the single-player mode wasn't executed well.
The biggest issue is that it's often a royal pain to set up your solution. It's easy enough to grab items from the box on the upper-left-hand side of the screen (use the pointer and A button like a computer mouse), but rotating them with the Nunchuk joystick feels awkward, and you can't always get the angle you need. The pieces jerk around, and they sometimes seem to fight your controls.