So, this is one of the 'big ones' for Sony's PS Vita. Just as the early success of the Nintendo 3DS depended on a couple of massive releases, the fledging Vita is relying on a handful of big bangs, such as Gravity Rush, to help handheld sales pick up.
What the Vita really needs is software that shows off its immense power - from the near-home console-quality visuals to the stunning 5-inch touchscreen and the gyro functionality. And fortunately for all concerned, Gravity Rush succeeds, offering up an essential experience for Vita.
It isn't incredibly polished in certain places, with key gameplay elements failing to ignite our tender gaming loins, but if you have a PS Vita, you'll still want to grab this on day one.
What a rush
Gravity Rush follows Kat, a leggy lady who wakes up in a strange floating world with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.
She soon comes to realise that she has the power to shift gravity, allowing her to zoom through the air; walk on walls and ceilings; and carry heavy objects and people around with her.
It's absolutely ruddy gorgeous throughout, with a slick comic book style and cel-shaded visuals that look like they belong on the PlayStation 3 (we'll be surprised if the game isn't eventually ported over to Sony's home console).
Everything about the presentation is spot-on, from the interactive comic panel cutscenes, to the overmap which displays available missions and side-quests, and is so simple to use.
Gravitating towards excellence
But, enough gushing over the visuals - the gravity-shifting concept is the most intriguing part of Gravity Rush. The way in which your skill at utilising it grows as you play proves immensely satisfying.
During the first couple of hours, it feels a little awkward, as you plummet towards enemies and end up missing the target over and over again.
Yet, this is a control scheme with so much depth. Partway through the game, you suddenly realise that you're pulling off the most incredible mid-air moves and giving yourself virtual high fives as a reward.
The missions in Gravity Rush usually involve killing the evil Nevi monsters or carting around items for story characters - the side-quests, meanwhile, focus on collecting points to upgrade your powers. As Kat gets stronger, you can really feel the strength behind her attacks, allowing you to develop your play style alongside her own progression.
The touchscreen and gyro controls are so simple yet allow for such intricate, subtle movements. There really is no better feeling than speeding through the air with insanely beautiful visuals zipping by all around.
Not everything is perfect in Kat's world, though: the game contains some rather odd design choices that feel tacked on.
Some missions ask you to stealthily dodge past enemies, and with Kat whizzing through the air at a rate of knots, it's often difficult to be sneaky. Unfortunately, she's not great on the ground, either - some of the worst bits of the game unfold when you're forced into some platforming action.
There's simply not enough tightness to the on-foot controls, especially compared to the in-flight depth, and the contrast between the mid-air sections and the ground-based action is startling.
The game also suffers from awful loading times, particularly when simply trying to restart a side-quest or mission. We were sat waiting and watching a black screen for 30 seconds on occasions.
Finally, the story is... well, largely incoherent. It's nice and zany, but for the most part it doesn't make a huge deal of sense. By the time you reach the end of the game, you still won't understand what the hell just occurred.
But, you know what? None of this truly matters, for there is simply no feeling comparable to clumsily coasting through the air and smashing your feet into enemies' weak points. There's a learning curve here that will grip you and refuse to let go until the final chapter is beaten.
Alas, it won't single-handedly sell a gazillion PS Vitas, but Gravity Rush is a must-buy for those who have already picked up the handheld.
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