Graviton spends no time expounding upon accessory elements, such as story. What is a Graviton? How has the world become charred and broken? What is the significance of the metallic balls being hoisted around? For those who appreciate such elements, there are a few sentences of back-story in iTunes. But perhaps back-story isn’t relevant here ‘“- Graviton is merely a simple game with a simple goal.
The last Fed-Ex.
Graviton is a side-scrolling flier that challenges players to transport one metallic ball per level through a series of obstacles, without losing the precious item in tow. A magnetic pole hanging from your shuttle attaches to the freight when in range, and the bulk of gameplay comes from successfully guiding your shuttle from the beginning to the end of five levels.
With each level lasting around 5 to 15 minutes, the game can be completed quickly. You’ll find little variation among the different obstacles, which include flashes of fire, stationary beams of light, floating bombs and the mangled remains of cities and the earth’s crust.
Graviton uses the accelerometer for steering, and tilting your device in any direction thrusts the ship along. Touching the screen boosts your speed, and tapping the ball drops it into receptacles set throughout the level. These provide safekeeping for your cargo during particular puzzles, with a final receptacle at the end of each level.
Just drop the package in the vortex.
The controls can be troublesome, and it takes some work to find the right combination of tilt and comfortable viewing. At the beginning of the game, the accelerometer attempts to calibrate the angle of your device. We found that the angle we desired was too far tilted for the game’s calibration system. After conceding to the process, we found ourselves drifting back to the desired angle, sending our ship to the ceiling for a nasty scrape on its paint job. Holding the device as the game demands works best, making navigation quite a bit easier, but still yields some unexpected run-ins with stationary objects like rocks and walls.
Issues aside, Graviton’s presentation is top-notch. There’s a simple, minimalist quality about the menu screen, overlaying an image of your shuttle as it flies down a winding corridor. A subtle soundtrack loops in the background that’s perfectly suited to the game and is actually quite memorable. The artwork depicts vivid scenes of post-apocalypse Earth, and the graphics are crisp and sharp, with 3D elements, rendering the desolation of the environment very well. The game’s physics are also quite impressive, sending your disconnected cargo bouncing and rolling into a variety of traps.
Graviton is a pretty package, and we’d love to see some well-implemented updates improve the title. This is certainly a very brief experience, but the online leaderboards for each level contribute a little replay value. For $1.99, it won’t break the bank to give it a try, but due to control issues and a limited range of challenges, Graviton becomes little more than a well-packaged “what if?”.