Review: Gravilon

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What would you say to a platformer where you have to roll around a square? Not push, roll. The concept has been done well elsewhere, like with your slick technicolor cube in EDGE, but you have to admit it’s not the most appealing pitch in the world. You need a really sharp presentation or some enthralling puzzles to make that sort of awkwardness sing, and I suppose on some level Gravilon tried to do that. It tried, but it definitely did not succeed.

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Gravilon is a puzzle platformer where you roll a square around a bunch of floating lines. Other than some floaty movement and dots you can touch to reverse gravity, the rolling is just as clunky as you’re imagining. You can build up momentum to cross gaps, which you’ll need to do pretty much all the time, but it makes your box extremely difficult to control. And that’s a pretty core problem with the game, because not half a dozen levels in it gets blisteringly hard. You’ll start being expected to make long precision jumps and clutch gravity flips, and falling off the level or touching deadly yellow lines starts the whole level over.

There are a few extra tools you have to overcome these difficulties, like a slow-motion button and the fact that when you die or reset, your previous square remains in the level. But rather than supporting your efforts, these mechanics become required before even warming you up to how they work. All of this takes place in a gray void with the next and previous levels visible in the back and foregrounds, which sounds cool except they’re all made of the same black lines and blend together into a visual mess. Add a plain-text menu that looks like fifteen minutes of placeholder programming, and you have an unpolished, unbalanced ball of frustration on your hands. And it doesn’t even roll right.

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I’ll be the first to sing the praises of a fresh take on the vast platformer genre, even if it doesn’t pan all the way out. But Gravilon is a transparently lazy attempt at using a gimmick to push a poorly-designed game. Anyone with functioning eyes should see the problem with the layered levels right away, and if you somehow get past that you really, really should be questioning the fun factor of precision maneuvering with a rolling square. No one seems to have caught these fatal flaws and so Gravilon sits here, mired in its failings like a wagon with square wheels.

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