Version Reviewed: 1.9
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Plenty of games give players control of families, cities, or even whole civilizations. Gravity 2.0 seeks to trump them all by putting an entire planetary system in the player’s hands. At first, it’s an intriguing power to explore. However, eventually it starts feeling more like a burden than a privilege.
Like its clunkier, uglier predecessor Gravity, Gravity 2.0’s main hook is star system creation. Players arrange planets across the blackness of space and can then adjust their size, color, and gravitational pull. Although it doesn’t feel as educational as it claims, watching how seemingly minor changes can affect orbits and collisions is still fun in an experimental way. One could easily sink hours into the sandbox mode, constantly tweaking their galaxy until it has reached cosmic perfection.
What’s more problematic is the battle mode where players arm their planets and wage war against human and increasingly difficult computer controlled systems. While the touch controls are fine for editing the large planets, they aren’t precise enough, at least on the iPhone’s screen, for quickly changing the positions and angles of the various tiny guns without constantly zooming in and out. There’s no time pressure since the mode is turn-based but it makes the whole process feels needlessly tedious. The mode’s trial-and-error, tower defense sensibility is equally frustrating. In between each round, the players have the chance to change their system and while it’s conceptually cool to use tactics like altering the gravity to repel enemy fire, in practice the matches feel slow and aimless as participants play what might as well be a slightly faster game of Battleship without the guessing. Winning battles yields money and experience points to upgrade systems RPG-style which is neat, but again this just makes the earlier stages with underpowered planets feel even slower.
However, the kind of science-fiction atmosphere Gravity 2.0 is going for favors slow, boring calculations over fast action. That kind of sci-fi also favors silence and a cold, sterile aesthetic which the game reproduces too. While the individual pieces look good, the planets look like something scanned out of a school textbook, there’s something about the way the whole package is assembled looks almost slapped together. The contrast between the detailed planets and relatively simple guns and backgrounds doesn’t help. The weapon sound effects pack a nice punch but as for the music there’s not enough of it to even judge.
Gravity 2.0 is worth checking out just to try making one’s own crazy cluster of gun-toting Saturns and Jupiters. It has a lot of interesting, complex ideas and although some don’t work, enough do for the experience to mostly hold up.
Tagged with: $1.99, 2.0, clark duvall, gravity, loko apps, planets, space, strategy