Surprise! Everything you learned in your middle school geometry class is paying off. Gravity Ghost is a puzzle adventure game with a surprising amount of meat to it. Initially released by Ivy Games on Microsoft Windows, MacOS, and Linux in 2015 and later released on PlayStation 4 this year, the game sends players on an adventure through space in child-like adorable adventure with wonderfully trippy cartoon graphics. Unlike your average (is there an average?) space adventure, though, there are no enemies to destroy, no lives to be lost, and really no way to fail.
Players emerge in space as a young girl named Iona. As Iona quickly learns, she is a ghost who hasn’t quite made it to the afterlife yet. Before she can live happily ever after, she must first travel through the cosmos (read: purgatory) via gravity (get the title?) and develop a series of magical skills that will save her family back on earth. Along the way, our animal-advocating friend can reunite the spirits of ghostly forest creatures with their bodies.
Each level in Gravity Ghost contains a simple puzzle in which the objective is to capture a star that opens the door to leave. None of the puzzles are too difficult — some I completed in under a minute. As one can imagine, gravity isn’t always on your side, but a bit of practice will have you free-flying through space with ease. Gravity Ghost features a linear-style map with several branches, so if one level is frustrating, you can always travel in another direction and come back later.
For all you math and science lovers out there, Gravity Ghost combines the laws of physics with a “sacred geometry” to explain the structure of the galaxy and its planets. Of course, there’s a bit of astronomy thrown in there as well, as each area of the map forms a constellation that can be seen when player one zooms out. It’s pretty cool.
Gravity Ghost is by far the most relaxing game I have ever played. Spinning planets and bright colors make for a mesmerizing experience, complete with earthy instrumental music to keep you fully immersed. Even the sound effects when you come in contact with collectibles are oddly satisfying. The pride that runs through your bones when you complete a level will empower you to keep going.
As far as plot goes, I’d say Gravity Ghost‘s storyline is pretty thick, which can be hard to achieve in a puzzle game. Pieces of the plot are obtained every time you reunite an animal spirit with its body, so be sure to catch every spirit if you want to stay in tune with the story. In addition, collecting every star means unlocking new areas of the map and uncovering the story’s end.
My only complaint about the plot is that it’s a bit slow to start. To be honest, I can’t say I was following it too closely as it continued, but the puzzles kept me engrossed in Gravity Ghost all the same. Bravo to Ivy Games on that front — gameplay and plot don’t rely on each other to make for a strong outcome.
The voice acting in Gravity Ghost is surprisingly excellent. Each character has a distinct personality laced with a light-hearted sense of humor and realism — even the talking animals.
I would have expected Gravity Ghost to come equipped with a few different difficulty settings, but as far as I could tell, it lacked a “settings” menu altogether. I personally enjoyed playing through a simple puzzle game that didn’t make me want to tear my hair out for a change, but I can see where some players may wish for more difficult challenges. All Gravity Ghost needs is a “medium” or “hard” setting to really pack a punch.
I can safely say that Gravity Ghost is unlike any other puzzle adventure I’ve come across. I’ll definitely be playing it again when I’m looking to sit back and relax.