Gravity Chain in Review – Stars And Snake Like Charm

If you’re looking for an action / puzzle game that is different than anything you currently have on your iDevice, look no further than Gravity Chain.  I was a bit skeptical at first, especially since the screen shots didn’t really draw me in.  Once I started playing, however, I realized this was the real deal.  Unfortunately, its unique selling point is also its most frustrating, so it’s a bit of a give and take situation.  Still, if you can learn to overcome the temperamental controls (or just resolve to deal with them), Gravity Chain will provide you with plenty of challenging and often hair pulling fun.

You control a chain, and your job is to get lost stars to their resting place on each board, which is an outline of said star.  The chain is connected to a red orb, and you can connect the loose end to another orb to move it throughout the level.  You pinch (and whatever the opposite of that is) to shrink and grow the chain, respectively.  To pick up an item just hit it with the chain – usually on the tip – and then tap the item to let it go if need be.  If you can reach the outline with the star, just causing the two to collide will work.  Bombs can be exploded if you hit them against something with enough force.  For the most part the controls are quite responsive, but the shrink and grow mechanism is hard to get used to, and often difficult to pull off in a crunch.  Combine that with the natural swaying motion of the chain and some areas are really intense to navigate.

Along the way you’ll have to navigate spike lined corridors, rooms infested with monsters, and all sorts of other hazards.  Pretty much anything that isn’t a cave wall or one of the objects you can pick up will hurt you.  Unless you have a shield, one hit spells your doom.  If you do get hit while you have a shield you’ll lose whatever you were holding, and your chain will shrink just a bit, but you can continue on with the game.  Just remember that there’s no grace period when getting hit, so remember to move out of the way if something is immediately following whatever hit you.

Fortunately, I haven’t run into a level yet that wasn’t worth taking for a few spins, and I usually manage to solve a level just about when I’ve had enough of it.  Your rank is determined by the standard 3 star rating system, and to get at least one star you must beat the timer, get the star to its home, and not get hit.  There’s one level in particular that I died so many times AFTER getting the star to its outline I couldn’t believe it.  The game has 48 levels plus the tutorial.  There are only 5 Game Center achievements to earn, but I would imagine that the final one, getting three stars on all levels, will take most people a while.

Gravity Chain looks pretty decent.  The backgrounds aren’t bad, though they’re really just tunnels cut into some rock.  The stars and other objects are fine and special effects are limited to a few things like a bomb exploding or the chain getting “armored up” when you pick up a shield.  The one thing I’m a bit disappointed with is that the monsters look a bit cheesy.  On the other hand, I love the way the chain moves.  It often seems more like a snake than a chain.

The sound effects are a bit mixed.  The monsters are annoying, and the bomb is a bit weak when it explodes.  On the other hand, some noises like the chain changing size or moving from peg to peg and the shield energizing are actually pretty cool.  The music is good and works well in the background to remind you of the intensity of the situation.

You’d think by now I wouldn’t be so surprised that some of the best games come from small developers, but with all the junk that’s on the App Store it still catches me off guard occasionally.  My initial turn off on this game was the cheesy monsters, and it’s sad to think I almost missed such a challenging experience.  The extreme casual gamer will probably not get along too well with this game, but anyone that’s up for an exciting, hair pulling action / puzzle game challenge should give Gravity Chain a shot.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Gravity ChainDeveloper: Fredrik Hedenstrom
Reviewed Ver:1.3Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:13.9 MB
  • Cool game mechanics
  • Challenging levels
  • Mostly decent visuals
  • Good music
  • Pinch / zoom and precision timing don’t mix
  • Monsters are goofy

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