Gravity Ghost, the indie title developed by Ivy Games, is a physics based puzzle game, revolving around a young girl named Iona and her troubled family. As an astral projected spirit figure soaring through space with her fox companion, Iona seeks to rid the universe of the black hole that is tearing at the world.
Although the game seems peaceful and transparent, there are numerous complexities within Gravity Ghost. Metaphors for purgatory, loss and displacement are present, which only illuminate its simplistic style.
The game focuses on gravity mechanics, which are both unpredictable and influenced by orbit and planet size. As I played through a series of levels, I soared through orbits in order to retrieve certain collectibles. The placement of these collectibles meant that I needed to circle the planet in a particular direction so that when I jumped off, I could swing into a specific orbital pattern and scoop up the collectibles.
Although a rather short tale, it is meaningful to say the least, shifting between astronomy and Iona’s life story. I couldn’t help but feel as though Iona’s tale was reflective of a personal experience from someone in the dev team, which is not a rarity among emotional indie titles.
There are several animal protectionist themes within the game as well. Aside from Iona’s ghostly fox companion, she frequently encounters other animals through out the game. In the cutscenes with Iona, she meets with her poacher friend, playfully discussing their contrasting outlooks and perspectives.
Another animal protectionist theme I found were in Iona’s use of gravitational flight to unite animal spirits with their earthly remains. In one of the demo levels, I chased an astro bunny through different planetary orbits. Once I captured it, I brought it back to its body, making it whole. This peaceful quality to Gravity Ghost is a constant delight.
I was lucky enough to meet Erin Robinson at E3 2015, the game designer and artist behind the game. I was curious as to where the native inspiration came from and she had emphasized the Sami peoples of Northern Norway, which are the only recognized, indigenous northerners of Europe.
I enjoyed my preview of Gravity Ghost for numerous reasons. The metaphors, themes and gameplay were unique and the soundtrack was gorgeous. The world of Iona, her family and astral self were both heartwarming and soothing.
The carefree attitude of the Ivy Games team is also very special. On the Ivy Games website, they state that “Each preorder of the game gives you two copies, one to give away. Find that person in your life – an old friend, a parent, a smart little kid – and give them your extra copy when the game comes out.”.
Simplicity, beauty and good intentions go a long way in the gaming world. We are often jaded by overly embellished universes and heightened gameplay experiences. Gravity Ghost is unlike most games in the sense that “Gravity Ghost is a game to soothe your senses. There’s no killing. No dying. No way to fail. Just hours of blissing out to buttery-smooth gravity goodness.”.
Gravity Ghost will be coming to PlayStation 4. No official date announced.
Gravity Ghost is currently available on PC, MAC and Linux.