I’m a huge fan of the Portal series. I love solving mental puzzles and I’m also an advocate of excessive sarcasm, so if you told me there was more Portal to play, I’d be eager to get started.
Gravitas is, in essence, more Portal, so why am I so unsure as to whether or not I like it?
As I write this, I feel uneasy about simply writing the game off as a Portal clone, but for reasons that will become apparent, it’s almost impossible to consider Gravitas as just that.
You arrive via shuttle on a massive art installation known as The Gallery of Refined Gravity (or GORG) suspended in space and ran by an eccentric artist known as The Curator.
The comedic tone of the title is established pretty quickly, with the back and forth between The Curator and the installation AI known as S.H.I evoking similar vibes as that of the bumbling Wheatley from Portal 2, but something’s wrong.
For some reason, it just doesn’t seem to hit home correctly. Jokes feel stilted and forced rather than off the cuff and I can’t help cringing as the comedy seems to fall flat.
The problem is that a title has already trodden these boards before and Gravitas feels like a support act to a main event. It accomplishes an occasional smile but that’s the extent of it.
The gameplay consists of the player taking control of a gravity-bending glove in order to navigate “art installations” (taking the place of test rooms) filled with gaps, cubes and lasers.
Is this sounding familiar yet?
The game does well in providing a short, yet challenging, puzzle experience that fills the void left behind by Portal and costs nothing to download, sitting on an Overwhelmingly Positive review rating on Steam.
So why don’t I love it?
I’ve wracked my brain over this thought for the last 8 hours, struggling to grasp exactly why I don’t like the title that seems so similar to something I adore, but I think that’s exactly why I’m not as keen as other players are on Gravitas. It’s so close to something I love and it suffers for that.
I enjoyed my time with Gravitas to an extent, but that’s where I feel the problem lies. The title is fun and interesting but feels chained and constricted by the very title they’re recreating. I kept expecting the game to deviate and change into a product that highlights the level of innovation and thoughts of the aspiring studio, but instead felt empty after an hour with no real positive or negative feeling towards the title.
It was an experience, I’ve finished it now.
The developers at Galaxy Shark Studios have created something that could really do with standing on it’s own two feet rather than simply walking in the footsteps of an earlier title. The free game highlights the level of skill, love and care within the studio that could be focused on a title that really stands out as different and original, but instead I’m just playing something that I’ll forget about in time.
I’d love to see more from the clearly talented and innovative team over at Galaxy Shark in the future, but I just hope that it’s fully of their own design. They’ve got the level of ability that could really lead to something amazing if they have confidence to create their own, original title and I really hope they do.
If you’re a puzzle game fan looking for a new experience, this is one to try, but personally, I want to see the studio really stretch it’s wings and show me the level of creativity they have on offer.