Playing Gravity Heroes is like learning contemporary dance. Scratch that: it’s like dancing full stop, if you’re a dad. No matter how hard I would try, my co-ordination skills would let me down every time.
I’ve been playing platform games since Manic Miner, and been adhering to gravity since I was born – whether I tried to rebel or not, it wasn’t going to happen. That’s the exposition, so why couldn’t I grasp the controls?
Gravity Heroes Review
As part of the Gravity Heroes, you get to select one of four characters, either in solo mode or a co-op with three other players locally or online. The goal is to investigate a disturbance in the force, and that disturbance comes from synthetics.
Synthetics co-existed with hoomans without any issue, as the former, read robots, are unable to cause any harm to their counterparts. However, this doesn’t stop a war raging, so your heroes set out to find out what’s the beef and address is with firepower.
On first inspection, Gravity Heroes is a run-of-the-mill action platformer. It looks nice and all, but nothing extraordinary. You shoot to the left and right, jump, perform wall runs and collect numerous power-ups to attack the enemies with.
Each stage plays out with a similar scenario: spawn at a new location, and wipe out each wave until you reach the boss. The latter is often a behemoth with typical attack patterns but still challenging and fun nonetheless. Then everything flips upside down.
Weight A Minute…
Yes, folks, it’s in the title and the opener: gravity is your friend (but also enemy). While this is the Gravity Heroes PC version, I recommend a controller to play. The keyboard is doable, but due to the tricky controls will refer to the controller from here on.
The left stick or d-pad will move your hero about, but by flipping the right stick in one of four directions, they will shift their feet accordingly. For example, you start on the floor, press up on the right stick, and they’re flip upside down, running on the ceiling like a Lionel Richie cover. Ask your nan.
This trick is brilliant and far from a gimmick as the core gameplay revolves around the mechanic. Gravity enabled enemies will alternate on one side of the screen and usually can’t attack you unless facing you. Likewise, you can only shoot to your side, so that’s where the gravity in Gravity Heroes kicks in again.
I found myself shifting to all four sides of the screen so fluidly that it’s almost like flying. You fire off an array of projectiles in their direction or as an evasive technique to avoid an attack. But it’s not just the sides you manoeuver around, but there will be various ledges in the centre of the screen that acts as cover points.
Finding Your Bearings
You can pick off enemies by manipulating your environments, and it seems like easy pickings, but aside from them switching their gravitational focus, you also have synthetics that fly around the stages, which means bouncing back and forth and that puts you at an even greater risk.
It’s not that Gravity Heroes is a bullet hell experience, but it gets incredibly confusing and somewhat hectic. For this old crusty, it was tough to build some muscle memory as I’d tap the right stick when I meant to walk, meaning I’d be all over the place.
Equally, when you get further into the campaign, enemies get much tougher, and the screen can get crowded, meaning you have to be many steps, or jumps, ahead. Fortunately, though, there are no cooldowns or gauges for the gravity skill, and you can do it on command, but it takes an age to get used to, despite being so simple!
Besides the standard gun, you get plenty of power-ups along the way with limited ammo but highly effective for crowd control or doing damage focus. Health is an option too, of course, as are grenades, but I wasn’t a fan of the latter. While they adhere to whatever floor you’re standing on, the range and accuracy are a bit poo.
Bring A Friend
Ignoring my reservations about the controls, which I hasten to add, are very good, I struggled with them. Also, playing on your own can get a little mundane and occasionally overwhelming.
For that part, you can play a co-op game for up to four people (or against each other in teams), which made the game much more fun. While I didn’t play online, I did use my household guinea pig (daughter) to trial it on the keyboard as I wasn’t prepared to give up the controller or pair another.
Once you realise which character you are and maintain that focus, Gravity Heroes isn’t as crazy as it first appears, and working together was a big help. But other than the standard modes, there’s survival too. As with any similar mode, it gets repetitive but enjoyable if you play with someone else.
There’s not that much else to say about Gravity Heroes other than the presentation. I particularly liked the character designs despite being so tiny, and they are really well animated – especially when they lose parts when taking damage. To some degree, they reminded me a bit of Metal Slug. Overall, a nice aesthetic and plenty of enemy variations to go around.
Gravity Heroes Review Summary
Gravity Heroes doesn’t stand out from the crowd at face value, but this gravitational feature is a massive highlight in practice. When you get the hang of it, it looks wicked flying back and forth all over the screen but prone to error when you overdo it. A decent indie title that’s even better in numbers.