You wake up lying on the ground. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know who you are.
You stand up and look around. A weird-looking black cat is sitting near your feet meowing. You tell it to go beg from someone else.
Right away you can tell that you are in some sort of courtyard. You make your way up a winding staircase with garbage bins littered about and birds flapping away as you make your approach.
Suddenly, a middle-aged man comes out of nowhere asking you for help. He grabs you. Startled, you slap him away.
“You gotta save my boy!” he demands.
Perplexed but curious, you follow the man down a walkway and into a sewer pipe. You walk past a couple of homeless men burning wood in a trash barrel and a man sleeping on the ground who remarks that the mysterious cat trailing you looks a bit like a crow that he saw. As you make your way out of the sewers into an area that can best be described as a slum, another man remarks that a storm is brewing.
“Hang on, Eugie! Papa’s coming!” the father cries out to his son.
The man’s house begins to get sucked into an ominous storm in the sky. The young boy, dangling in the air, clings to the end of a metal pipe connected to the ramshackle dwelling that is being ripped apart from the hurricane-force winds. The father begs for you to use your super powers to help.
“Super power?!” you ask incredulously before noticing the cat changing colors and glowing.
You begin to bobble in the air and soon realize that you can manipulate gravity. Before long, you are walking on walls and floating in the air. You rescue Eugie and bring him back to his father before the storm consumes their home.
This is just the beginning of Gravity Rush, a gravity-defying action-platformer for the PlayStation Vita, which was released with updated graphics on PS4 as Gravity Rush Remastered. The rest of the game – spread out over four separate sections of the city of Hekseville, each with its own distinct flair – will unfold over roughly twenty to thirty hours, depending on whether you finish all of the side missions and challenges.
The main character, who gets nicknamed “Kat” because of the black cat that follows her around, gains the distinction of “Gravity Queen.” Despite initial hesitance, she quickly earns a positive reputation among the local population as she protects the city’s residents from the Nevi – strange black and purplish monsters with red cores that serve as weak spots – that keep popping up around town.
Gravity Rush is one part action-adventure and one part platformer with light RPG elements sprinkled in. Unsurprisingly, gravity shifting plays a central role. You float with R1 and use the right analog stick or motion controls to aim. Pressing R1 again will send her flying in the direction that you are pointed. You can also stop midair and reorient yourself. Motion controls on the Vita and DualShock 4 help to fine tune your movement.
When you “shift” gravity, you can climb walls and walk on ceilings. This only lasts around fifteen seconds until you upgrade your abilities. When gravity is shifted, Kat can “fall” upwards. Pressing L1 releases you from your shifted gravity state, and you’ll fall back to the ground based on normal gravity and physics.
Part of the fun is just exploring Hekseville and collecting gems. Whether you are on foot or in flight, exploration is encouraged. Flying is more useful for the most part, since you can cover a much larger distance quickly, but there are some nooks and crannies that are better handled on foot.
Combat is straightforward. You have a basic kick with square, a dodge move, and a gliding ability. You can also perform a so-called gravity kick while in midair, which allows you to attack enemies and maneuver out of the way of their attacks.
Challenge missions and side missions add a little variety. The challenge missions earn you more gems to upgrade your abilities. Upgrades include reducing the drain on your gravity gauge, increasing total health, faster recovery time for the gravity gauge, and increasing the speed of your fall.
The challenge missions vary in format from timed races to short combat segments where you try to rack up a high score based on the number and type of monsters that you kill with more points awarded for tougher enemies. You have to use your gravity shifting abilities well in these challenges to clear them and earn one of three reward tiers: gold, silver, and bronze. Every subsequent tier awards a greater number of gems than the one before.
Of course, Gravity Rush is very much a story-driven game, most of which is told through a series of comic strips and
Overall, Gravity Rush is easily one of the best games on PlayStation Vita. It’s a shame that the Vita handheld never caught on with the general public and a good thing that Sony decided to remaster this unique title for their heavily-adopted PS4 home console. An already good-looking game looks even more impressive on PS4.