Gravity is a funny old thing. The first scientist to study gravity seriously was English mathematician and astronomer Isaac Newton, who famously (and probably apocryphally) was hit on the head by an apple falling from a tree and used this potentially annoying incident to observe the rules of gravity – namely, that that which goes up must come down, and all physical objects are bound by the same rules. The Earth exhibits a gravitational pull, and all objects are irrevocably drawn towards that pull.
One thing Newton almost certainly knew would never be possible was the ability to switch off gravity and change it at will; if we want to stand on the ceiling, unfortunately we can’t simply press a button and make it happen. For now, until science catches up with our incredibly advanced ideas, we’re limited to the sphere of video games, and we’re luckily well-served in this area. If we want to defy the laws of gravity, there are hundreds of video games which allow us to do this.
One such game is Portuguese developer Serius Games’ G-Switch 3. The game is, as the title would suggest, the third in the G-Switch series, all of which is currently available on mobile platforms if you want to check it out. If you’re looking to approach G-Switch 3, though, we strongly recommend you play it on Poki instead of looking to mobile platforms; you’ll want the precision of keyboard controls for this one. The gameplay loop of G-Switch 3 isn’t particularly complex, but it does demand finesse, and if your mobile isn’t up to the task you’ll notice pretty quickly.
So, exactly what kind of game is G-Switch 3? It’s a 2D platformer in the vein of titles like VVVVVV, which you may or may not have played (if not, get on that, it’s a classic). Unlike that celebrated indie game, though, G-Switch 3 doesn’t have any pretensions towards being open-world or having hidden secrets to find. No, this is a strictly linear affair; you’ll run from left to right and like it. There are tokens to collect along the way which unlock hidden characters, but those tokens are more like optional gameplay challenges than secrets since they’re totally visible and out in the open.
In essence, anything that isn’t the core gameplay loop of G-Switch 3 is unnecessary distraction. The premise is breathtakingly simple: you run, and occasionally, when you cannot run any more, you press the Space bar on your keyboard to run on the ceiling or walls instead. When an obstacle bars your path, or you need to avoid some kind of deadly spinning spike trap, you press Space. When the drop before you threatens to swallow you into the void, you hit Space. When you’re confronted by a wall of spikes and there’s only one narrow gap to victory, you (you guessed it) hammer Space.
With only one button, you’d think G-Switch 3 might get boring, but this is not the case. In fact, the game is consistently entertaining from start to finish thanks to a number of smart design choices and some excellent presentation. First off, the game’s three modes offer a surprising amount of variation; although they’re all principally the same in terms of mechanics, they cater for different needs. The main mode works for the vast majority of players, those who wish for an experience that ends; the endless mode is great as a relaxation tool, since removing the goal means you’re only ever chasing your own high score; and the multiplayer mode allows you to share the beautiful simplicity of G-Switch 3 with friends.
All of which is to say that G-Switch 3 is consistently sustained by the ingenious ways in which it subverts and plays with its central mechanics. At first, you’re just switching between ceilings and floors, but it’s not long before the game introduces traversable walls and the experience becomes mind-bending to anyone who’s watching while remaining effortlessly intuitive to the player. Obstacles will simply slow you down early on, and only kill you if you come into contact with the left side of the screen, but later they’ll outright murder you if you touch them. The difficulty in G-Switch 3 evolves organically and never feels like it spikes; considering how tough the game can get, this is high praise indeed.
We haven’t even mentioned the game’s brilliant sound design or its muted yet effective aesthetic, but they’re contributors to what is overall a satisfying and engaging experience indeed. G-Switch 3 won’t replace the regulars on your shelf like Mario or Sonic, but it’s an excellent addendum to those games and offers a much higher degree of challenge than the usual platformer. If you’re looking for an offbeat experience that iterates on a central mechanic in numerous ways, then look no further than G-Switch 3.