Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Gravity Castle is a smart puzzle platformer that's turned my brain inside out

Up is down, down is up, and up is also sideways?

Most great platforming games dabble with gravity at some point. It's one of those classic, age-old moments where you're suddenly walking on the ceilings and jumping over gaps upside down to further test your skill and overall dexterity. Gravity Castle, on the other hand, has seemingly made it its entire premise, making for a brilliant Next Fest demo that's still available to download on Steam right now. It also looks absolutely gorgeous, channelling Ico and the rest of Fumito Ueda's oeuvre in all the right ways.

You take control of a strange robed pilgrim with a big clockwork dial on their head, who's journeyed to the mysterious Gravity Castle to explore its depths. You'll be descending deep into its underground belly, which is unhelpfully filled with lots of insta-death spikes and traps. Lucky for you, you've got a mystical doodad that lets you control the flow of gravity, allowing you to twist the castle left, right and upside down to hop, skip and a jump through its twisty passages.

Watch on YouTube

You can only change the direction of gravity when you get to certain levers, mind, and when presented with the option to simple turn it left or right, there are inevitably moments where you accidentally tap the wrong direction and send yourself hurtling into a horrible spike pit - as I did on several occasions while I was still trying to wrap my head around its demo. Thankfully, save points are plentiful and are often located right before any big platforming challenge, meaning that most mistakes are blissfully short-lived. Of course, there's no telling whether they'll remain this frequent as we get further into the castle, but in its opening stages at least, it seems as though developers Studio LEF have struck just the right balance between its sense of challenge and overall difficulty.

What's particularly cool is that, looking at the developer's YouTube channel, you can see just how far the game's come since it was first announced seven months ago - the initial protagonist looked quite different in Gravity Castle's reveal trailer, for example, and its upbeat, chiptune music gives it a whole different vibe, too. The current Steam demo, meanwhile, has a more cryptic, enigmatic air about it, and it also has an altogether richer, more vibrant colour palette, which I think looks much easier on the eyes than its washed out earlier versions. Heck, even the trailer embedded above isn't quite the most up to date version of the game's opening sequence - a change the devs chronicle in this rather neat before/after video.

In any case, if precision platformers are your kind of bag, then Gravity Castle is certainly worth popping into while the demo's still live on Steam. No firm release date yet sadly, but consider this head well and truly turned by it.

Read this next