Overall Score 25%
GravOtron is a puzzle game where gravity plays a part. Four balls start in the corners of a maze and the player can press the up, down, left or right arrows to make all of the balls gravitate in the associated direction. The aim is to make the balls touch each other and vanish.
A number of game modes are supplied. You can elect to limit the number of arrow presses, or play an easier time based game. You can also select the size and complexity of the maze.
Graphically the game is very distinctive. The game interface is predominantly pure white, black and red, and there are some strange sliding blobs in the background on the title screen. In the game, the only graphical effect is a change of lighting to reflect the direction of gravity and notably, balls just vanish without any effect at all when they touch.
The sound is almost indescribably bad and certainly unique. At all times, a loud and very intense pulsating mechanical noise plays. Occasionally, the clank of a heavy earthenware plate rings out. A brainwashing session in a totalitarian regime probably includes a similar sound. Fortunately it can be turned off.
The essence of GravOtron while playing is to press the correct combination of arrows at the correct time. There are very few gameplay elements, just lots of the same looking levels with the same aim. There are no pickups or bonus rounds to keep you entertained. The intended aim is to increase your running score but there is no reason or incentive to do so.
During a timed game, I marched up through several identical levels before I got bored and pressed escape. In its current form GravOtron has absolutely no depth and comes across as a concept demo rather than a finished game.
Unfortunately the interface and general presentation of the front end of the game has some serious problems too. If the first rule of game presentation is that it should be easy to start the game then GravOtron fails. During the front end, the player is not told what to do, all screens appear with slow wipes that cannot be skipped, and I found the stark black, white and red graphics are harsh and unpleasant. The front part of the game is the first part a user will see and is an absolutely vital part of any game. Some music, nice background graphics, a menu and a mouse pointer; all of those things would improve GravOtron by a massive degree.
The graphics and presentation are not as bad as one or two games I've played, but the weak gameplay, ugly sound, and awkward interface make GravOtron a bad game. The lack of an installer, absolutely no purchase instructions, and the $25 price tag probably make sales of this game difficult too. With more work on the graphics, sound and gameplay, this original seed of an idea might bear fruit.
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