I love an iOS game that can be played with a single finger. That’s what the platform was made for – and to play Grav, that’s all you need. Instead of an array of virtual buttons that only hide the beautiful scene artists have taken time to produce, a single tap anywhere on screen makes for a much more enjoyable experience, especially on a phone where screen space is limited.
The objective of Grav is to navigate your rocket through space and reach the goal. The only command you give to your expendable-yet-faithful rocket is to accelerate in a straight line by touching the screen to thrust. The rocket will be pulled around space by the local planets’ gravitational forces. It’s your job to guide it through space to reach the goal without crashing into wandering meteorites or…big black spinning things that map out the maze/boundaries of each puzzle.
New mechanics are introduced later on, including a collectible that reverses the direction in which your rocket is travelling. This may seem like a simple tool but the clockwise/anti-clockwise rotation of your rocket around a single planet plays a huge part in reaching the puzzle’s goal. For example, you may need to navigate your way into the centre of a maze, grab a reversing collectible, and navigate your way out of the maze again to reach the goal that was previously out of reach due to the rocket’s rotation.
Grav has a very steep learning curve…but a curve nevertheless. Puzzles start out relatively easy with room for error. If you miss the goal due to an incorrectly times boost, you may fly around the planet and try again. Later on, however, barriers become much closer together, and missing the goal or collectible means you are sure to crash into an annoyingly-placed barrier on the way back to the planet. On some puzzles, you will be chased by meteorites, allowing no room for error whatsoever. Upon completion, you receive a score in the form of three stars, but unlike other iOS games that reward you with a three-star rating, Grav has a habit of giving you zero stars for your hard work.
Grav can be so difficult in some instances that I find it hard to recommend to the majority; only those perfectionists out there that enjoy a challenge, even if it means attempting the same level over and over for 20 minutes or more. Considering 2DM consists of only two developers, I believe the extreme difficulty is down to expert players designing based on their own skill.
Grav is a really nice, polished game that looks and feels beautiful. My only issue with its performance is how it runs on an iPhone 3GS. On some of the more complex puzzles, the framerate drops to a very low count, making precise rotations very difficult. I do not recommend this game to anyone with a 3GS for that reason. In fact, 3GS should be taken off the required devices list on iTunes. But is it worth 69p? Yes – if you are passionate about difficult games or physics-based puzzles, and have a more up-to-date device than an iPhone 3GS.