Gravity Rush Remastered is a head-spinning action-adventure game that makes up for its run-of-the-mill combat and levelling systems with an exhilarating mechanism: being able to manipulate the flow of gravity.
The tricky thing about having such a unique ability is that it risks becoming a one-dimensional gimmick. Gravity Rush Remastered treads carefully here and largely succeeds. While controlling gravity is an integral part of the game, it is also part of a larger, more coherent whole.
As Gravity Rush Remastered is a remake of a 2012 PlayStation Vita game, it is not the most graphically rich. Its cel-shaded graphics are modest, and the plot unfolds through static storyboard panels.
PRICE: $51.90 (PlayStation 4 exclusive)
But the game still manages to evoke a sense of wonder from the start, when players first wake up in Hekseville, a floating, multi-level city with grey buildings and stone-paved streets.
Players control Kat, a gravity shifter who has lost her memory. Accompanied by her cat Dusty, she has to defend the city against the shadowy evil race Nevi, and rebuild a fragmented world.
Initially jarring, the gravity flow mechanism quickly becomes intuitive. On a PlayStation, players press R1 to float, and use the joystick or controller's tilt to face in the direction they want the new "floor" to be. Press R1 again, and the new plane of gravity takes effect, sending you hurtling in your chosen direction.
Being able to manipulate physics itself is surprisingly liberating.
Plenty of times, though, I found myself completely losing orientation or turning my head sideways in order to keep "upright". Players who get a headache after playing regular first-person shooters may have trouble here.
While being able to dictate gravity is a blast, the game's combat feels dull. It starts off as ground-based, but Kat soon becomes reliant on her Gravity Kick - an airborne attack that generates more power with momentum.
The Nevi are never very smart or lethal, and fighting soon becomes a rinse-and-repeat sequence of float, kick, float, kick.
The levelling system is also not particularly inspired. Collecting purple crystals from around the world lets you upgrade Kat's abilities like Gravity Gauge (a resource that allows her to manipulate gravity) and the power of her attacks.
However, there is not much variety in the kinds of skills to learn or ways to play the game.
Indeed, gamers who are seeking strategic battles and complex skill sets should look elsewhere. Gravity Rush Remastered is a game for those who want to feel the rush of leaving the ground behind.