Disclaimer: This review of Gravity Heroes was conducted using a code supplied to me by the game’s publisher. This does not affect my judgment of the game and is explained for the purposes of transparency
2D platformers are a genre that many are familiar with. However, Gravity Heroes promises to take this formula and quite literally turn it on his head. The game allows the player to manipulate gravity, and float around the screen while fighting waves of robots. The game is one that, on paper, seems extremely promising. So why exactly does it miss the mark?
If I’m being honest, this game barely has a plot. The backdrop of this game tells the story of a robot uprising. Our four main characters, the Gravity Heroes, are sent to investigate the uprising, as well as bring it to an end. The issue is that the story is never really explored. We have four playable characters to choose from. Yet each of these characters play in the same levels and fight the same bosses.
There was an excellent opportunity here to really expand this story. Have each of the characters play different levels, and flesh out the lore of this uprising. Each character could have explored a different aspect of this uprising, and have them intertwine at the end. Not only would this flesh out what is honestly a lackluster and forgettable story but it would’ve added some much-needed replayability to Gravity Heroes.
Despite a lackluster plot, Gravity Heroes could have clawed back some points if the gameplay was a tad better. At its core, the game is a pretty basic 2D platformer shooter. Each of the levels consists of a small area, almost similar to a room. They will take on the appearance of different places such as a cave or a factory, but they effectively are a closed-off area in which the player fights waves of robots. The layout of the levels barely changes as the game progresses. They always have two ledges on either side of the room, although there may be a few minor changes.
The types of robots that the player encounters are unfortunately rather limited. The player will encounter three types of flying enemies and two types of walking enemies. The walking enemies can walk on the walls, and one of them can even change its gravity. The issue is that you encounter all of these enemies within the first few levels. The remaining levels offer the same enemies, with no changes. The enemies you encounter become stale and boring very quickly, and thus the gameplay becomes tedious.
Gravity Heroes suffers from a severe lack of gun variety for a platformer shooter. Guns can be collected during each level via pickups that are left by drones, which also leave health and armour pickups. There are only five guns I remember coming across in my time with the game; machine gun, Uzi, rocket launcher, shotgun, and rocket launcher. Very different from the “diverse method of attack” that the game’s page on the eShop promises.
Lastly, we need to discuss the games’ main mechanic; the manipulation of gravity. This is a mechanic that took me a while to get to grips with. On the Switch, gravity is controlled with the right stick. At first, the gravity is set to normal, in that it pulls you down to the bottom of the screen. Flicking the stick in a direction will change the gravity so it pulls you that way. Using this mechanic the player can fly around the screen. Although confusing at first manipulating gravity is essential to not only killing enemies but also avoiding gunfire.
Graphics & Audio
Instantly just by looking at Gravity Heroes, it’s easy to see that the game is influenced by more retro games. The visuals are reminiscent of the games of the 80s and 90s, with an art style similar to 16-Bit games. While the art style is charming and has a lot of nostalgia, it sadly isn’t enough to save the gameplay or plot. The audio also shares the same style as the games of the 80s and 90s, yet the tracks are unfortunately forgettable. Neither of these are ultimately enough to save Gravity Heroes from its flaws.
Gravity Heroes is a game that, on paper, should have been far better than it actually was. An interesting twist on a familiar genre, the game falls flat in many areas. Not only does the gameplay very quickly become repetitive, but the fact that each of the four characters doesn’t have their own storyline is almost criminal. Four different storylines each exploring different areas of the uprising would easily have redeemed Gravity Heroes. Ultimately, I cannot recommend Gravity Heroes as a game unless you are truly desperate for a shooter to play.