Grunge is over 30 years old, but teenagers still sport Nirvana - ?Kitty Pettin' - Corporate Rock Whores" t-shirts. Which may be a good sign for Just Add Water, whose soon to be released Gravity Crash
harks back to the games of yesteryear, at least ostensibly. The 2D vector graphics approach of GC
gives the game a definite 1980's look, and my first question to developer, Just Add Water's MD Stewart Gilray is if he thinks this might restrict the game's appeal to the more mature demographic that I fit into, and into which he is just sliding comfortably. "That's why we have dual stick controls", he replies immediately. He concedes that the appearance of the game might limit the appeal, but the playability shouldn't. "We did some focus testing, and one young guy asked 'Why is it in 2D? it makes it look really old!'."
It would be a shame if younger gamers failed to see past the graphics to the gameplay gem that lies underneath. Gravity Crash
is, in Stewart's own words, a cross between Thrust
, though after playing the game, I might throw Crystal Quest
into that mix.
The game, which is destined for the PS3 and PSP via the PlayStation Store, will be for download only, at least for the foreseeable future. Stewart points out that Sony has the option, if it wishes, of rolling the game and some potential future DLC into a physical release. But he's not holding his breath for that. The title is days away from submission to Sony and should be available for PS3 in November, with the PSP version following about a month behind.
With this information shared, Stewart hands me the joypad, and I step back 20 years into arcade heaven. The game advises me to play the training missions, and despite a lifetime of refusing to take advice, especially good advice, I do so. The missions ease one gently into the world of Gravity Crash
, and a deceptively simple world it is to. At first, one pootles around a vector graphic world, where rocks are bad, gems are good and gravity is always downwards. There is, in the opening level, some non-aggressive stuff which you can shoot if you wish, but you do not have to. If your energy gets low, collect shards of crystals (dilithium, I like to think) by shooting them off the larger crystal formations. Collect all the gems and a wormhole opens to whisk us off to another level. Easy! I like this.
Now there are things shooting at me. That can't be right! Oh, I can shoot back. Take that alien scum!
Now there's water, and in water, my ship floats. So instead of constantly (occasionally, in fact) having to thrust downwards, I have to thrust upwards. Which makes things fun. Then, as I pop out of the water, my buoyancy gives me an extra boost, so I have to thrust away from that rock or else. Damn. I blew up.
Shields can be automatic, and mine are, but they'll only take few collisions, and then you are on your own. Then the next crash is your last splash.