E3 2011: Gravity Daze Hands-On Preview

We examine the wonder that is SCE Japan Studio's latest adventure game starring a gravity-shifting teenage girl.


Whether it's pressing the gravity reversal switches in Gravity Man's stage in Mega Man 5 or messing around with the switches in Super Mario Galaxy 2's Rightside Down Galaxy, we have to admit that defying the concrete laws of gravity in a video game is a recipe for fun. Director Keiichiro Toyama (known for creating the first Silent Hill and Siren series) has taken this concept to heart and come up with a PlayStation Vita-exclusive title called Gravity Daze (working title) that revolves around the aforementioned concept. GameSpot managed to get some ample playing time with SCE Japan Studio's adventure game right after Sony's E3 press conference.

Gravity Daze stars a blond teenage girl named Kat who is stranded in a town called Hexaville without any recollection of how she got there in the first place. As she chases a cat all the way to a park bench next to the town's fountain in hopes for a clue, she suddenly gains the power to shift her body to zero gravity. As a result, she can stand on any side of a surface and even ceilings to zip around hard-to-reach places. The story seemed to build up to something grand as another gravity-defying girl by the name of Raven and tarlike monsters popped into the scene to complicate matters.

It was easy to get into the controls. We jumped from spot to spot collecting diamonds along the side of a building by pressing the R trigger to shift to zero gravity and then pressed the R trigger again while aiming the center reticle to fall forward in that direction. We could steer Kat while she was forward falling by using the PlayStation Vita's Sixaxis controls. Pressing the L trigger reverted gravity back to normal.

The game wasn't just about navigation, as we had to defend ourselves against black tarlike monsters with blood-red cores. Kat can fight back by performing a gravity-powered flying kick via pressing the square button after entering zero gravity. We had no trouble dealing with the monsters, as well as their armored larger cousin. All we had to do was aim the cursor at its weak spot--in this case, its center core in front of its coral shell--to break its armor and then gravity kick it again to put it out of its misery. We were told that Kat will gain additional skills and powers related to her gravity-manipulating shtick as the story progresses.

In terms of aesthetics, the game is indeed a stark contrast to the director's previous work, as horror and grim is replaced with whimsy and bright color palettes reminiscent of a watercolor painting. The town of Hexaville looked like it was a rendition of 1950's village in Europe with each building showing off some form of rustic wall textures and a fountain area that looked similar to a section of Rome's Piazza Navona.

It's too early to tell if Gravity Daze can stand alongside other unique titles like ICO and the Shadow of the Colossus, but its aural and visual charm, as well as its zero-gravity mechanics showed promise. Expect this head-turning adventure to come out within the launch window period of the PlayStation Vita.

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