Saturday, December 06, 2008

Gravity Master

Today brings us to the next Shootorial contest winner, Gravity Master. Well, actually, Gravity Master wasn't really a winner -- it was disqualified for not being based on the Shootorial (and rightly so; it has pretty much nothing in common), but awarded a special Honorable Mention anyway for being quite a neat game. And indeed, there is an interesting concept there. It needs a little more fleshing out to be a really good game, but this is precisely the kind of game that I hope to see more of in Flash -- a really clever idea, simply and cleanly implemented.

The basic premise of Gravity Master (which more accurately should be called Gravity User, but that sounds considerably less cool) is very simple. You have a ball, and one or more tokens to collect. How do you get the ball to the tokens? Well, you use the mouse to draw shapes which you drop on the ball to nudge it in the correct direction. Naturally, as the game progresses, you have to do more complicated things with your shapes -- you can use them as ramps, bridges, or even drop them onto the other side of a see-saw to launch your ball.

Sounds like a neat idea, right? Well, I'll be honest -- I only completed six out of the 24 levels, because it does get a little frustrating at times. (I know, normally I try to complete the whole game before writing a review. These Shootorial contest games don't have real badges, though, only dinky little 5-point challenges, so the incentive to play the game for much longer isn't really there. And given that none of the Shootorial games is particularly great, that's not much of a loss. This is definitely the best of the bunch, though.) Dropping a shape on the ball is easy enough, but precisely placing shapes to use as ramps is often quite difficult, and getting the ball over even the smallest of bumps can often be an annoyingly tricky task.

The graphics are extremely basic, and there aren't any sound effects, though the background music is pleasantly soothing. Although simple, the interface does offer you everything you would want to do -- destroying shapes and restarting the level (both things you want to do often) are quite easily accomplished. (Though I didn't notice the return to menu button in the corner my first time through -- that could definitely use an improvement to its conspicuousness.) It does seem a little odd that blocks that fall off the bottom of the screen have "fallen into hell", though.

Overall, Gravity Master is a cute little game with a clever idea. It's still not quite ready for prime time, but it definitely has the most promise among games I've seen in this Shootorial contest. A little work on the puzzles (or perhaps the engine) to remove the more annoying parts of the game would make this an excellent puzzle challenge.


ToastyKen said...

I actually rather like it! It's more of a challenge than other similar games. I'm stuck on level 14 for the moment.

If you completed 6 levels, does that mean you're on level 7, with the square wheels?

Anyway, each level has a somewhat interesting level design, and while the precise timing issues are a pain sometimes, I think the levels so far are quite doable.

Paul said...

Yeah, that's the one. I just went back and figured it out, but I'm too lazy to bother going much further. :)