Gravity Ghost is the Meditative Physics Indie You've Been Waiting For
Gravity Ghost is a joy.
It's a difficult game to place. There are the basics to understanding it. It's a physics based game about galaxies, where your main character is a ghostly girl. It's been rightfully compared to games like Mario Galaxy, especially in terms of physics, but it's as if the game was spawned in some strange coupling with well-known indie Fez.
Why the association with a platformer? Much like in Fez, Gravity Ghost is a game that does not punish you for failures. There is no death. There are no boss fights or killing of enemies. If you wanted to spin around the same formation of planets, gently floating through the orbits of an ice level, you can do that.
The game controls are appropriately floaty and simple. You use arrow keys and the space bar to navigate miniature galaxies, populated by planets, power-ups and stars. The stars are the only indications of progress. In order to access later guardians you must collect a certain amount of stars, and outside of giving up on a level, they are the way to exit the level.
Since the game doesn't punish failures, it's hard to get truly frustrated by the floatiness of the controls. You are easily pushed by the orbits of traveling planets, and it can be difficult to control the location and direction of your ghostly character. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the hours of play, there wasn't a moment where I grew sick of the game, or overly frustrated by my inability to reach certain flowers or stars.
For me, one of the weakest and strongest parts are when the game deviates from the basic floating around planets. The positive example would be when you are introduced to breakable ice. There is nothing more enjoyable than crashing into a wall of ice globes, that shatter gleefully beneath you with the happy tinkle of breaking glass. That said, the maze levels were for me tedious and some of the only moments where my interest waned. I'm not good at mazes in real life, and definitely not good at them with an incredibly basic control scheme.
The music and graphics are one of the best parts of an already solid indie game. With a a lovely hand painted style that is unique among a sea of independent games that seem to rely solely on retro-graphics, Gravity Ghost sets itself apart. The creature design, such as the Salamander that greets you at the end of level one, are exquisite. They are somehow soft and playful, and still detailed and beautiful. The constellations and galaxy backgrounds are subtle and well imagined, the perfect backdrop to a planetary game. It's the perfect environment for you to shoot across, your ever-increasing tail cutting a swath through a detailed night sky.
The music was composed by Ben Prunty, whose work on FTL garnered him a nomination for Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012. The music contributes to the ambience and atmosphere, and is one of the stand outs of the game.
You can currently pre-order the game through their official website. For now, there is a discount of 33%, and it's well worth the $9.99. It's available on Mac, PC, and Linux. and is DRM free. You can also get the soundtrack, which is blissful goodness, for 40% off, or about $3.
Gravity Ghost has the potential to be this years independent sensation, and from what I've played the game is exactly the right thing if you're into meditative game, physics games, and fantastic video game music.