Ravenous Games has a decent collection of retro-looking casual games piling up in their catalog, though I’d wager that they are best known for their League of Evil series. Gravity.Duck is nothing like those games aside from the graphics style. For some reason that bothered me at first, but it didn’t take long until I got completely hooked on this one. In fact, I think I’ve played it more than both of the League Of Evil games combined. Ravenous has one again nailed the art of the casual gaming experience, and I for one am happy to indulge.
Your mission is to help a duck recover a bunch of golden eggs for a statue that is just a head. There will be lots of obstacles along the way, but thankfully the head has imbued you with the ability to manipulate gravity. This will come in handy as it will help you get out of many a tight situation as well as make sure that you are rotated the same way as the egg so that you can pick it up. Unfortunately your skills only let you flip gravity by 180 degrees, though as luck would have it strategically placed gravity wells can rotate you by 90 degrees when a little more precision is required.
Spikes are about the only static hazard you’ll have. Moving nasties come in a wide variety of options including giant red caterpillars, bats, bald eagles, American Indians, goats and more. Each has a unique attack pattern and while individually might not be a big deal they can certainly provide a challenge when lumped together in some of the trickier levels. The basic rule of thumb is if it’s not ground or a golden egg, don’t touch it. Your reward for beating a level is simply moving on to the next one, unlike so many other games that rank you with an x out of y score that makes you play some levels ad nauseum until you’ve earned the highest ranking. For those that are really craving some replay value in Gravity.Duck, there are 10 achievements to earn, two or three of which might require you to play at least part of the game more than once.
To control your duck there is a virtual joypad in the lower left corner and a button in the right. The button allows you to flip gravity, while the joypad lets you move him forward and backward both on land and in the air. Keep in mind that only two of the directional buttons are active at a time, depending on whether you’re rotated north / south or east / west. It was a bit confusing at first, but when you play long enough it all becomes second nature. The controls are always responsive, though it did seem a bit easy to “slip off” the virtual joypad at just the wrong moments.
The graphics are retro pixel perfection. The characters look good and are well animated, and the backgrounds feel like they were ripped out of some premium vintage console title and re-mastered for today’s market. The sound effects are okay but are actually fairly lacking, especially when it comes to the critters that don’t make any noises at all. The music is decent, but the menu music is actually better than the level music, and either all three worlds have the same music or it’s so close that you can’t tell the difference.
Overall I quite enjoyed this game. It’s simple mechanics and decent level design make it easy to get into, and the fact that you know you’re going to beat the level the very next time you play it keep you hanging in until the end. Apparently some feel it’s too derivative of their other works, but all I can compare it against is League Of Evil and while I see similarities, it still feels like its own game comparatively speaking. The audio elements could use a bit of a boost, but otherwise this is another solid platforming effort from Ravenous Games.
|Title:||Gravity.Duck||Developer:||Ravenous Games Inc.|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||4.3|