For a while now there's been a wonderful resurgence of indie games thanks to the ease of getting a game on a platform. One of the games riding on that wave was 2015's Gravity Ghost. A heartwarming puzzle game that was simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, the game received a warm reception at launch. Four years later and its finally making its way to consoles with Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition. Is this a friendly ghost, or is it time to call an exorcist?
You play as Iona, a young girl who recently died under mysterious circumstances along with a wild fox she named Voy. When Voy vanishes Iona sets out to find out why. In the process, she discovers seven giant animal guardians tasked with protecting a planet. While they were sleeping, a black hole wiped the planet out. Iona's goals include reassembling the planet, finding Voy, and coming to terms with her own death. It's a heartwarming story that manages to perfectly nail the tone it's shooting for most of the time. Iona is a great character, especially thanks to some fantastic voice acting by Ashley Burch, and I easily came to care for her story.
It Looks Good, It Plays Good
There's also some great artwork supporting this. It almost looks like Gravity Ghost comes entirely from crayon drawings. It's something that really helps with that feeling that everything is from the viewpoint of a child. While I really enjoyed the artwork, there are a couple of areas where it just doesn't work as well as it should. One late-game scene saw a character fire a gun, but it lacks a muzzle flash or sound. Instead of shooting a gun, it looks like the character just awkwardly twitched. Still, this is extremely rare and the game always manages to look great otherwise. In addition to this, Gravity Ghost has a lovely soundtrack that really manages to fit every moment in the game.
The basic gameplay idea is that each level has a star and it's your goal to collect it. Of course, it's not as simple as it sounds. Iona can literally jump off the planets she occupies, but gravity will always affect her. This will cause her to curve and fall in directions you may not expect. At first, I had a pretty tough time moving her around, but before long I got into the swing of things and could generally get Iona to go exactly where I needed her to be. Thankfully as the game progressed I got some abilities to help me, such as a glide, double jump, and the ability to make Iona heavier or lighter so gravity changes how it works on her.
I Bet We Could Sing a Song About the Elements
Iona also has the ability to change the element of a planet, giving it special abilities of its own. For example, using the air element changes it to a gas planet that Iona can bounce off of, while fire turns it into a lava planet that repels Iona. In exchange for changing a planet's element, Iona has to give up some of her hair to do so. Thankfully you can always grow more hair by finding flowers, which are extremely plentiful in each level. By the end, the only time I dipped below the max hair length was when I had just changed a planet. One of the last upgrades does away with this need to spend anything at all.
Outside of collecting stars, you'll need to find animal spirits and return them to their skeletons. Levels with spirits bear a certain mark. You'll have to engage in a little chase sequence to catch them, then check other levels to find the correct skeleton to send them home to. It's a fun little change of pace, and having to use the gravity elements to actually chase something is pretty smart. However, the animal AI isn't exactly bright. A few times, I caught them just by letting them come right to me. Still, when it works, it's a great element that makes me feel like I'm accomplishing a goal.
There's also the stray puzzle, with most constellations having one halfway through and another capping it off. The halfway puzzle is always the same and has you moving to specific spots on a bigger planet to move a ball through a maze. There's nothing wrong with these puzzles, but they're not very interesting either. The other has you working to wake up the guardian of each stage, requiring something different each time. One has you collecting antlers for a deer, another has you reflecting light beams for an owl, while a third has you playing fetch with a wolf. These should be interesting, but none of the puzzles are really that good. Most of them just felt like busywork. By the end, I really didn't care for any of them.
Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition Review | Final Thoughts
If you've played Gravity Ghost on PC already, the deluxe edition has a few new features to check out. The biggest is the addition of 13 new challenge levels that take place in a bonus constellation. They're certainly the hardest levels in the game. Even then, none of them feel like they're driving me insane. Completing these levels gives you the ability to play as Voy, who can jump much higher than Iona can. It's a nice bonus, but the truth is it's only about 30 extra minutes of content and it's probably not worth buying the game again unless you're a die-hard fan.
If you're looking for a relaxing platformer with a bittersweet story, then look no further than Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition. A beautiful game that I really lost myself in, I couldn't help but come away charmed by the experience. Even if the puzzles don't quite feel that good, this is one ghost who's gravity should pull you in.
TechRaptor reviewed Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the developers. The game is also available on PC.
Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition is a bittersweet game about acceptance, and a relaxing platformer to boot. Also, it has a real good fox.
- Charming Story
- Great Visuals and Audio
- Relaxing Gameplay
- Fun Chases
- Occasionally Iffy Art
- Lame Puzzles