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19

Gravitron 2: Thrust Things First

Gravity is the best of the four elemental forces

When chatting to Retro Remake’s Oddbob about his competition, he mentioned how much he was loving Gravitron 2. And always being a sucker for Thrust variants – GF24evar!! – I gave it a shot. It’s pretty neat. You can get the demo 12Mb Demo from here which features four of the full games’ forty (count ’em!) cave-delving thrust-o-thing. Video of it in action, a little discussion and a completely self-indulgent pop video beneath the cut…
The idea of the game is simply to get to a generator, blow it up and get the hell out of the planet before it explodes. If you want more points, you can collect scientists, and you should. Thrust-derived games for me are the natural extrapolation of the game where you have to move a metal hoop along an metal wire without setting off a buzzer – in that, you’ve got a slightly unreliable physics object to control (your arm. Especially uncontrollable, in my case) and a highly constrained route to follow through. In other words, it tends to be enormously punishing, but that’s the point: tension, delicacy and the joy of release when you finally make it. Pro-tip: use the shield to minimise harm.

It's far better than the weak force. That shit is weak.

My one problem is the generators themselves. You shoot them to take them out, and you have to hammer them a bit before exploding. The instructions say you need to hit them repeatedly – but it doesn’t actually make it clear whether they mean “they have a health bar you have to take out” or “you have to hit them repeatedly in a period of time”. This wouldn’t be an issue, but the game doesn’t give any visual or sonic clues that you’re actually harming it, leaving you more than a little disconnected from that one central action. When the game is as sonically effective as it is elsewhere – there’s a fantastic array of retro bleeps on show – I’m surprised they didn’t implement something like a ever-rising scale of disturbed and disturbing noise as each hit slammed into it.

Still: highly polished, quietly snazzy Thrust-derived game. Highly likeable. And here’s it in action…

And here’s the Super Furry Animals in action.

(The justification is the “Gravity – you just hold me down so quietly – you just hold me back” chorus, but really, I just fancied linking to the SFA. (This man don’t give a Flip – Ed))

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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