Gravity Rush revolves around one glorious idea: the ability to shift gravity. You play Kat, a typically wide-eyed manga girl in an impossibly skimpy outfit. Kat’s forgotten her past but she can alter the pull of gravity thanks to a magic cat. No, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but compared to the crazy concepts of many Japanese games it’s actually pretty straight-laced.
These unusual gravity powers pave the way for some topsy turvy exploration antics. Pressing the Vita’s right shoulder button causes Kat to float in the air, freeing the player to move the camera with the accelerometer or left stick and pick a direction of travel. Once the shoulder button is pressed again the spot the player picks becomes the new centre of gravity and Kat falls towards it.
Yes, it’s a bit confusing and even with practice it’s not the most graceful means of travel, but the chance to explore the game’s steampunk city by flipping and spinning it around in this way is clever, refreshing and fun.
But one great mechanic does not make a great game, and the game Sony has built around Kat’s superpower is a little less convincing.
The missions are too pedestrian to fulfil the full potential of the core idea with their run-of-the-mill gem gathering, time-based checkpoint races and object-carrying odd jobs. The range of gelatinous baddies to fight injects variety into the combat, although the clumsiness of the gravity attacks does irritate a touch.
Outside the missions, though, Gravity Rush’s core idea still shines bright, and the game’s beautiful environments are a great canvas for exploration. But throughout there’s a nagging sense that this is a missed opportunity: a game that came up with a fresh idea but never quite figured out how to make the most of it.