If you were a scientist on the verge of a major discovery, how far would you take the experiments in order to make sure the results would be as impactful as possible? Would you do anything and everything to ensure you would be the first one with the answers or would you maybe take the safer approach of the wait and see? Fining the answers can be a lot of work and sometimes there is a danger that may come out of it. But does developer Electric Monkeys show us puzzle-solving in zero gravity? Let’s find out with Gravitational for PlayStation VR.
Gravitational is a physics-based puzzle game that takes place in a topic future, where large corporations are in a race with each other to try and develop gravitational travel and control systems that will hopefully revolutionize the world as we know it. So before we begin there are a few things that you may want to do first before beginning. First, go into settings and go to the control’s options and select the movement that you think might work best for you. I say this because you will be in a wheelchair in the game, so you have the option of Arcade Movement which will allow you to rotate the wheelchair based on your head direction when necessary or there is Simulation Movement where the movement is similar to the real-world movement of using a wheelchair and might help with those who might feel little nausea when it comes to VR. Second, as always, make sure your Move controllers are fully charged. You don’t want to try and move, especially in a wheelchair, and get stuck and not able to move all because you forgot to charge them. Third, find your favorite chair. This really is a seated experience and it’s best if you can have a chair with armrests as it will help some when trying to move in the wheelchair. And finally, I am not going to spoil the story as that wouldn’t be fair to those who are playing nor those who worked hard on this. With that said, let’s continue…
Playing as a scientist named Sebastian who works at GraviCorp you are right in the middle of a major accident that has resulted in one of the main cores that have collapsed. So it’s going to be up to you to try and get everything under control and avoid a major catastrophe. You are not really alone in all of this as you do have an assistant named Isabelle is communicates with you via comms to help guide you in a way. As I mentioned, you will be in a wheelchair and I will say at first, it was a little difficult to move around even though there are some instructions, but in order to move you need to press the trigger button to switch to the controls that will allow you to move and have your hand next to the armrest (this is why I found it to be a good idea for sitting in a chair with armrests).
Through each of the stages, it’s you trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B. To do this you will need to move blocks in order to help you get through the stage. But to do this, you will need some help, and being the scientist that you are, you do have gravitational guns per se that you can activate by pressing the Move button on each controller. You need to move these blocks so you can complete a pathway as there will be gaps to get to the point where you need to go. The blocks need to connect to the part of the area, but just moving to the part of the floor, won’t make them stick and expand. Certain sections have a light/energy area where you will need to rotate the blocks. Some blocks have more than one light/energy area on them as well, which makes being able to use multiple blocks at times a lot easier than others.
There are different blocks that you will come across in your gravity puzzling journey. Blue blocks will extend based on the light/energy are on the sides. The red blocks are a little more helpful as they can extend by three. The green blocks are the ones that are pulled from the walls and can become lengthy, and then there are the purple ones form a T shape. So again, by rotating the blocks and trying to figure out how to use them, things do become more challenging as you progress in each stage.
One of the things I liked as it changed some things up from placing the blocks to help fill in the gaps of the pathway, is when you have to go through gravity fields that will help you move from the lower to the higher levels of the stage. There are elevators that once you enter, have these bars that you do have to grab on to and move yourself up. But there are the fields where you will have to move up and across and to do this, you have to throw yourself in that direction. But shoot past the part where you need to hold on to could make you crash resulting in starting over at the last checkpoint. Remember, you are in a wheelchair, and regardless of experiencing weightlessness when in these fields, it’s when you are not in these fields where the weight of you being in the chair and gravity are against you.
As you move throughout the different stages you will have more communication with Isabelle and find other things along the way such as memos that help to try and tell the story that is being told. There will be times when blocks may fall and a new block will be replaced. However, if those replaced blocks are too far you may not be able to reach them. If you got too close to an edge or I even experienced if I leaned too far in a certain direction, I had to respawn, which made it difficult at times and made me question why more times than I should have. There are also circuit puzzles that you will come across, it almost feels as they were just added for additional puzzles to fill in a puzzling gap.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The graphics look good and I do like the blue that was used in the gravitational fields as it did show off this glowing power that added to the sci-fi element. Each of the stages seemed to be reused, but with different layouts which I was hoping, there would be more of a variety to the stages. But I will say that if I was in a wheelchair, that I would want one like Sebastian as it looked to have the Tron effect which I really enjoyed. With the sound, the conversation between Sebastian and Isabelle is not going to really hold a memorable experience. It just sounded as if there was just reading and not any emotion at times. Which for me, I love a good story, and when you have a good story, it can make up for so much with everything that is presented.
There are some things I would love to see updated or added. For one, the option for the forced blinders. There is no way to turn them off and for many, this is a distracting feature. I get why it’s there, but there really should be an option to remove them. Second, the movement controls. If you are going to be in a wheelchair and you lean towards either side of you to just forward too much, you shouldn’t have to respawn. It just makes things more difficult and for those newer players to VR and puzzle games in VR, there shouldn’t be this additional challenge.
Gravitational gives us the zero-g and puzzle-solving while allowing us to move in a new refreshing way. It shows us that sometimes we are born into a life where we are limited or sometimes it can explode in ways that we never thought possible and has us readjust how we go through it. But we all try and adapt to what is given to us regardless of our own limitations and other people’s thoughts. And at this point in our own lives or our own limitations no matter what they may be, shouldn’t we go through life and not worry about what others may think?
Gravitational is out now on PlayStation VR. A review code was provided. To learn more about Electric Monkeys, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Perp Games who is the publisher for the PlayStation VR version, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see if there was anything I missed.