Gravity is for chumps.
Platformers are possibly the most classic of all games genres. Whenever I hear someone mention 'Platform', I usually respond with Mario or Donkey Kong; that gets me some funny looks at the train station, I can tell you that. Well take Mario, add a touch of anti-gravity and set it in a junkyard. You should come up with something like Inertia: Escape Velocity. A junkyard you say? Ok, maybe add Earthworm Jim into the mix aswell.
Hermes is the name of your character. He may look like a space marine (I always get the feeling he looks like an evil villain or boss), but he's a harmless space traveller, only seeking to collect parts for his ship. The aim-of-the-game, as it were, is to travel around the space junkyard picking up scrap from old ships in the hope that you can repair your own ship and continue your space journey. It's not as simple as it sounds though. Each stage of each level (yes, Mario-style levelling) contains pieces of scrap. Collecting a certain amount of scrap for each level will allow you to continue on to the next. But these pieces of scrap aren't on the floor, they're above you, all around you at unreachable distances. That is where the fun begins.
You are given control of an anti-gravity button which, as the name suggests, effectively turns off gravity. Now when you start to play with physics in a game, you have to keep to the laws of physics. It can become a risque business, especially when done badly. Thankfully, Red Fly Studio listened during science class at school. Gravity can be turned off in an instant. As soon as you press the anti-gravity button, you lose all movement control. You will continue travelling the same direction as when you pressed the button, whatever direction that may be. This is where super-jumps come into play. By jumping and timing the anti-gravity correctly, you can reach those distant pieces of scrap. As soon as you let go of the anti-gravity button, it's down you come, straight down. Later levels expand on the idea of no gravity. Bouncing off surfaces is one of the many techniques you'll have to learn to progress through this game.
Graphically, it is a pleasing game with a delightful yet familiar 2D/3D effect gracing each level. In-game cinematics give a different perspective to in-game play, so it really emphasises the 3D world, despite the fact you only ever play from the side. The menus are smart and easy to navigate, and for the first time user, you are guided through a tutorial straight away which is very helpful, and a feature which could have easily been left out.
If you ever do complete the game and you still fancy more anti-physics space fun, you can always buy the added Inferno levels. The game will keep you occupied for some time though. Collecting all the scrap in every stage of every level are optional goals, as well as completing each level in the target time. Added incentives like this give the game an added spice that should keep you entertained beyond completion of the game.
Overall, it's an app that you should consider. It's very much the same of what we've seen before, but in a sense it's something fresh. It's old goods served on a silver platter in that respect. When described in its most basic form, a platformer where you run around picking up bits of scrap with the ability to defy gravity, it doesn't sound much of a treat. But the physics engine alone deserves a test drive, as not many games can create such a realistic environment. Try it out for yourself though, you may be pleasantly suprised by this junkyard thriller.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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