‘Gravitas!’ Review – This Puzzler Takes Its ‘Meteos’ Inspiration Seriously – TouchArcade

We’re getting dangerously near being 20 years faraway from the launch of the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Transportable. It was an thrilling time. Would Sony do to Nintendo in handhelds what it had performed in residence consoles? What sort of wild video games would come up from the beefy specs of the PSP and the weird options of the DS? An thrilling battle the place everybody in the end gained, so far as I’m involved. However I wish to take a look at one micro-skirmish in these early years, as a result of it’s from this relative footnote that the inspiration for this sport, Gravitas! ($1.99), was born. Let’s discuss Meteos.

Simply a few years earlier than the launch of this epic technology of handhelds, one other main occasion went down. SEGA, having had its newest console’s clock totally cleaned by the PlayStation 2 (a destiny it will not undergo alone), determined to drop out of the {hardware} enterprise and shift to being a 3rd occasion. A pivotal time for the corporate, and one that will see quite a few its key builders depart the corporate for varied locations. One such particular person was Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the producer of video games like SEGA Rally Championship, Area Channel 5, and Rez. On the time a comparatively younger producer, he was keen on sick dance beats and raver tradition, facets that he had more and more been incorporating in his initiatives.

When he left SEGA, he determined to start out up his personal unbiased firm with quite a few different former SEGA builders. Named Q Leisure, its first order of enterprise was to develop a puzzle sport for every of the upcoming handhelds. Not the identical one, both. Every handheld would get its personal distinctive sport from prime to backside. For the PlayStation Transportable, Q Leisure made Lumines, a rhythm-focused falling block puzzler that noticed gamers rotating and putting items to match colours because the display eliminated them based mostly on the tempo of the constantly-changing music. The Nintendo DS acquired Meteos, a really distinctive puzzler designed by Masahiro Sakurai (Kirby and Smash Bros. creator) that used contact controls to control falling blocks to make matches, which might ship them rocketing into the sky and, if they’d sufficient carry, clearing them.

Each effective video games, and each did fairly nicely. One did loads higher than the opposite, nonetheless, and to the victor go the spoils. Lumines acquired a number of sequels and a handful of ports, and might simply be purchased on trendy platforms at this time. As for Meteos? A considerably ill-conceived sequel knocked it off the rails virtually instantly, and it acquired solely a pair extra releases of any variety earlier than successfully falling off the map from 2010 on. And look, I like Lumines. However I additionally love Meteos, and I’ve been hoping for it to make a comeback of any variety for a really, very very long time. Ideally in a kind nearer to the unique than that sequel.

Nicely, I don’t know if Meteos is ever coming again. And clearly, I’m not the one one who misses it. Developer Drew Smith has extra initiative than I do, as a result of he appears to have gotten bored with ready and simply went out and made his personal Meteos. I’m not going to sugar-coat issues an excessive amount of right here. Gravitas! wholesale borrows its mechanics from the unique Meteos, virtually to a tee. Every Part sees you attempting to ship a set variety of blocks off the highest of the display inside a sure period of time. You’ll be able to slide items up and down every column (and never left and proper), and matching three or extra of the identical items both vertically or horizontally will ship all affiliated columns into the sky. How excessive? It is dependent upon the gravity of the section, whether or not the match was horizontal or vertical, and what number of combos you might have rolling.

Blocks will fall in one after the other from the highest, and generally you’ll get some power-ups within the combine. Ship them off the highest of the display to activate them. There are additionally some rubbish blocks, however they are often was regular items, typically triggering a match after they change. Horizontal matches don’t get as a lot carry as vertical ones, and in concept that is your alternative to make a combo by making additional matches on the elevated items. This is a staple of Meteos, and it’s one of many methods the place Gravitas! doesn’t fairly hit the mark. It’s an actual ache to make a match on these flying columns, and it ties into maybe the largest drawback with the sport on the entire: the fiddly controls on telephones.

I’m unsure what the sport can do about it, actually. However I’m not right here to repair points, I simply level them out. Anyway, the mixture of the small blocks, comparatively small show, and my chunky fingers implies that it’s just a little difficult to get the piece I wish to go the place I would like it on iPhone. It typically takes just a few tries, and that may be deadly within the tougher levels. It’s additionally what makes it arduous for me to nail these floating combos. If I can’t transfer items precisely on a secure column, I’ve little hope of doing so on a shifting one. Once more, I don’t understand how the developer might make this higher, however I hope they will as a result of I actually like the sport in any other case. Enjoying on the iPad is far more snug, and the sport performs rather well with the Pencil when you have it.

Like in Meteos, every Part has a method of its personal. The items look completely different, the background appears to be like completely different, the music is completely different, and the gravity additionally adjustments. What impresses me right here is that the general appear and feel could be very “Q Leisure”-core, if that is smart. Typically extra Lumines than Meteos, however all the time on level. It’s not fairly as polished as one thing we might see from Mizuguchi and firm, which is the principle giveaway. But it surely appears to be like and sounds actually good, and among the themed items are very amusing if just a little arduous to differentiate.

The principle sport consists of 20 Phases, and the issue curve is sweet and clean. Candy at the start, very spicy by the tip. You can even do a Fast Play, which helps you to select your favourite theme, what number of blocks it’s essential to clear and the period of time you need to do it, and the issue degree. A Marathon mode challenges you to maintain enjoying so long as you’ll be able to, with the issue rising as you go. Vs Match helps you to play in opposition to one other human participant by way of native wi-fi or on-line (Hamster, take notes). That mode could be very enjoyable as a result of the blocks you ship off your display find yourself cluttering theirs. Lastly, your prize for beating all the Phases of the principle sport is the Grav-Lab mode, which provides you the flexibility to play with no matter degree of gravity you want. Neat.

Other than the management points and a few minor roughness within the UI, I don’t have a number of adverse issues to say about Gravitas!. I did have a crash right here and there, which was disappointing, however the video games are so fast that it isn’t actually an enormous loss on the uncommon events it occurs. I’d love extra Phases to play, however that’s simply me wanting extra of one thing I loved a good bit. In the event you’re enjoying on iPhone, it’s actually going to return down as to whether or not the developer could make these controls work higher. As it’s, I’ve to suggest it with the heavy caveat that you just may need to cope with the frustration of frequent missed matches, and never having the ability to do a lot dependable comboing with the floating items because of the lack of accuracy is a bummer. Once more, in the event you’re on iPad you’ll in all probability be effective.

Gravitas! is closely impressed by Meteos, there’s no getting round that. However contemplating how a lot of Meteos was wrapped up in a really distinct model, it’s superb simply how shut this sport will get to evoking the identical emotions as that traditional. Given the low value of entry, anybody who misses Meteos would do nicely to choose this up on no matter gadget they personal regardless of the management difficulties. Common puzzle followers may wish to give it a go too. It’s a few stable fixes away from a powerful suggestion throughout the board, however I’m keen to put money into that hope.

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