Defy Gravity is a gravity-based platformer released in 2016 by Fish Factory Games. It breathes life into the platforming genre by introducing gravity-manipulating mechanics. The game, thankfully, does everything that it needs to and does it well. While the game isn’t a breakthrough by any means, it controls perfectly, has a moody atmosphere, and uses interesting gameplay mechanics. Defy Gravity is also incredible value as it’s less than $1 on Steam as of this time of writing.
In the game, you take control of a Gravitymancer who has entered a large maze known as the Gauntlet. To traverse the gauntlet, you are given two guns. The first gun can be used to create a gravity well, a blue vortex that attracts yourself, and any objects that happen to be nearby, toward it.
The second gun is used to create anti-wells. An anti-well is orange instead of blue, and it repels objects away from itself. Also in the Gravitymancer’s arsenal is the Gravity shield, which protects you from the effects of your gravity wells and anti-wells.
The game is separated into twenty-four levels, with the second half of the game being much more difficult than the first half. Most of the stages consist of basic platforming, but the more later levels have a lot more obstacles or require more advanced technique. Most of the levels require you move from point A to point B, and you have to traverse obstacles like bottomless pits and laser beams. Defy Gravity is challenging, but not in a frustrating way. The controls are very precise, but it’s up to you to manage your gravity wells so you don’t fall into the abyss.
The game gives you plenty of time to find out how best to control your movement in midair. Essentially, the blue gravity wells can be used to hold yourself in one place, while the orange anti-wells can be shot below yourself to keep you from falling to your death.
Once you complete the game’s twenty-four levels, the game starts over in hard mode, where you lose your anti-well gun and there are a few other surprise modifications, like how the side-scrolling stages are faster. By this point, you probably learned how to use the anti-well gun to travel upward and across gaps, so you will probably have to learn to do the same thing with only the gravity gun.
My biggest gripe with the game is that it doesn’t have very much variation in the tasks you have to do in each level. Besides the bottomless pits, lasers and projectiles, there isn’t much else to the levels. There’s no large enemies to defeat, no objects to interact with, and no puzzles to solve. That’s not to take away from the otherwise solid level design, but some more variety would be welcome.
The presentation leading up to the first level is minimal. You’re shown one screen before you’re left to start a new game and fend for yourself. The music in the game is very good and adds a feeling of solitude. Because the game lacks a typical plot, it tries to absorb the player with the atmosphere instead of a story.
Defy Gravity is a solid platformer that will test your creativity when manipulating gravity. The thing it did wrong isn’t so much what’s in the game, but rather what isn’t. If Defy Gravity had more level variety, the game could have been even better. If you want to try the game out, it’s on Steam right now for under a dollar. Good luck in the Gauntlet.