Gravitar can still be a fun and rewarding game, however it can be difficult to see the vector graphics and the controls suffer in the transition to the Xbox 360 controller. This title tasks you with ridding planets of enemy bunkers and picking up fuel reserves while compensating for extreme gravity effects using pitch and thrust control.
There are three solar systems in Gravitar, each containing a death star, an alien planet and four regular planets. While in solar system view, your ship will gravitate towards the death star and can be destroyed by enemy fire. Once you enter planetary view, you will be pulled towards the ground and have to contend with fire from both ships and bunkers. As you approach the ground the game view will zoom in, which was quite an advanced feature in 1982.
Unfortunately, in 2010, even when the game is zoomed in it can be quite difficult to see anything on an HD display. The vector graphics representing your ship and your enemies are drawn with thin lines and darker blue and red tones don’t provide enough contrast against the stark black backgrounds. Enemy fire is particularly hard to make out.
The controls inGravitar are tough to master. Pitch, originally assigned to two digital buttons, is mapped to your control stick or d-pad and it never quite feels responsive enough. Thrust, weapons fire and the tractor beam used to collect fuel are all assigned to separate buttons. Getting a grip on Gravitar can be very rewarding, though in my case putting in the time to do so was hampered by eye strain.
The gameplay is timeless as evidenced by the recent success of Gravity Crash and PixelJunk Shooter, two titles that borrow heavily from the ideas presented in Gravitar.
+ Rewarding to Master
+ Timeless Gameplay
– Graphics are Small and Hard to See
– No Sound to Speak Of
– Brutally Difficult and Unforgiving
– Some Slowdown when Destroying Enemies