Game Review: Gravity Duck (PS Vita)

Gravity Duck

There are a few things that most people would say that they want from life. Happiness, health, love and money. In Gravity Duck from Ratalaika, our feathered hero isn’t in luck when it comes to the first three, but he has been offered the chance to at least make his fortune. So he’s been given the task of trying to make it rich by gathering as many golden eggs as he can.

Gravity Duck In Brief

From that simple premise we’re taken to this PS Vita platform puzzle game. It uses gravity flipping mechanics as part of the gameplay, allowing our feathered protagonist to swap between the floors and ceilings of each level at the press of a button. The concept is fairly easy to understand and is relatively easy to get to grips with during play.

The game is split into four themed areas, and each of these is split into 35 stages making a total of 140 levels. In each level you have to make your way from the starting point to the golden egg – do that and you move on to the next level.

Cracking On…

Gravity Duck starts off gently with you, a few walls to flip off, and an egg to reach so you’ll get there in a couple of seconds. Controls are basic and can be mastered in a matter of seconds – left and right walk your duck (or move him while he’s in the air) and fire swaps gravity to flip him from floor to ceiling and vice versa. It’s simple enough and the game starts off nice and easy so you get used to the gravity swapping concept of the game.

After the first couple of levels things start to get a little tricky and this is where you need to use a combination of puzzle solving, dexterity and quick reactions. Hazards are added to the stages, ranging from spikes protruding from the ground, ceiling and walls to creatures walking about the landscape. To help you get around these there are gravity wells that you can propel yourself into. These look like yellow spinning balls and when you make contact with one of these your duck is launched off at a 90 degree angle.

Using these allows you to reach parts of the level you can’t get to by any other means. Some stages require the use of several in quick succession to reach the egg so it’s a combination of planning your route and fast hand/eye coordination to make sure you hit each gravity well to get to the egg and avoid every obstacle along the way.

The Good And The Bad

Progress is saved automatically as you complete each stage and as you’d expect from most indie games ported by Ratalaika, there’s no limit to the number of times you can replay each level. Which is a good job because as you progress throughout Gravity Duck the levels get a lot harder and require a lot more precision in your gravity swapping action to be able to get from start to finish.

My one issue – and this is certainly no fault of the developers – was the original timing of the game’s release. When it first came out, it was launched within a couple of weeks of Hoggy 2. It was such a shame to have seen two platform puzzle games released so close together, both of which that were dependent on gravity switching mechanics for their gameplay. Fortunately, now that time has passed it’s not such a major issue, but back then I do wonder if it dissuaded some from buying this who’d already purchased Hoggy 2. I sincerely hope it didn’t though as both are great games in their own right.

Looking Good

Graphics are bright and colourful and have a retro 16-bit feel to them. They’re not the most detailed when it comes to pixel art but the visual style suits the game well. The parallax scrolling background adds to the game and surprisingly doesn’t provide a distractions from the visuals and throughout play the game never looks cluttered or hard to make out.

Sound, on the other hand, isn’t as impressive. Sound effects are quite sparse and the music, while jovial, soon grates and is probably the game’s weakest component.

Overall

None of that matters though if the game isn’t enjoyable to play. Fortunately Gravity Duck just oozes playability. It’s fun and addictive from start to finish. Having a gentle learning curve allows you to ease yourself into the game steadily and get used to the puzzles that the game throws at you so by the time they start to get more difficult you’ve already got to grips with the controls. What I found to be more important was that even the tougher levels weren’t frustrating to the point that I wanted to stop playing the game. They just left me wanting to play more until I beat them.

Gravity Duck is one of those games that many may overlook because of it’s simplistic visuals or its concept. But those who do are missing out on an absolutely fantastic game. I don’t know how they manage it but once again Ratalaika have ported a superb indie title and while it probably won’t take too long to complete all four worlds, you’ll have immense fun playing it. It’s addictive and an absolute steal at the price – just £3.99 for the game which is Cross Buy with the PS4 version. You’ll be quackers to miss out on this one!

At A Glance

  • Title: Gravity Duck
  • Publisher: Ratalaika
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: Yes (PS4)
  • Cross Save: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: TBC
  • PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes

Vita Player Rating - 07

The copy of Gravity Duck used for this review was supplied by Ratalaika.

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About Simon Plumbe 1046 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: http://ko-fi.com/simonplumbe