June 3, 2015 10:50 AM | John Bridgman
Erin Swink of Ivy Games has been making video games for a decade. She's released several computer games already, including the physics puzzle game Gravity Ghost which earlier this year launched on Steam. Now she's bringing the delightful gravity propelled game to the Playstation 4, her first console release.
Promising some timed console exclusive content, the PS4 release will include an additional constellation to provide the challenge levels that players have asked for, as well as new music from Ben Prunty whose prior works include the soundtrack for hit roguelite FTL. Topping off the collection of new content will be a new playable character who can be unlocked in the game. These being timed exclusives should be enough of an incentive to get players interested in the console port without alienating fans of the PC version.
Gravity Ghost is breathtaking. There are few words I can appropriately use to describe the aesthetic. It has such a gorgeous style to it, with bright colours and a fantastic hand-drawn look to it. You can see the incredible detail in screenshots, but it's hard to do justice to how stunning this game looks. With impeccable motion and flow, simply the act of moving in the game is full of wonder and beauty. The movement in Gravity Ghost is absolute art.
Equally stunning is the soundtrack, which is another testment to Prunty's talent as a composer. Charming and comforting, it evokes feelings of expansive dreams and childish wonder. It combines traditional instrumentation with more electronic elements to create something truly magical and in my opinion therapeutic. It may in places be reminiscent of his work from FTL, but it also makes me think at times of Aquaria's soundtrack which is definitely a compliment in my opinion.
The game has beautiful animated cutscenes, with a mix of humour and hopefulness that really gives a warm feeling to the player. The voice acting is very well done and adds so much to these down to earth moments in among the more fantastic gameplay. It's an excellent contrast and I appreciate how much the game's various elements work together to make what feels like a storybook in video game form.
Of course, there's a physics puzzle game in amongst all this outstanding artwork, and that too is relaxing and extremely well crafted. Traveling through the galaxy in search of your lost fox friend, you leap from planetoid to planetoid, using the different gravities and momentum to guide yourself to collect flowers, stars, and sometimes new abilities before making your way to the exit door of the level. Your hair grows longer as you collect flowers, and it flows behind you in a brilliant fashion as you soar through the stars. Doing so lets you collect animal spirits, which you reunite with skeletons you find in some levels. Doing so welcomes the animals to the afterlife. With a hug.
I'm not sure I can accurately describe Gravity Ghost better than "a game that lets you welcome animals to the afterlife with a hug from a child". It's charming and beautiful, and I think it's capable of genuinely warming the heart of anyone. With it coming to the PS4, owners of that console can look forward to one of the most endearing game experiences I've encountered in a long time. I would recommend it to quite honestly anyone in a heartbeat.
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