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    Gravity Ghost: beautiful space

    There is really only one word to describe Gravity Ghost and that word is, “Whee.” It’s a bit like going to Lunar Park and riding the Rotor, then the Tumble Bug, then the Rotor again. Then, trying not to throw up on the Ferris Wheel while your kids are chucking fairy floss at each other. This vibrant, physics puzzler is, quite honestly, the first game that has ever made me feel genuinely dizzy. It is both a grand, cosmic adventure and an exercise in how to relinquish control.

    I’m not going to lie. I spent, at least, the first two constellations in utter, whirly frustration. I had no idea how to make the little, green lady go where I wanted her to go, with either keyboard or controller. In one level, full of glass bauble planets, I clumsily smashed every single one with my “bull on a china shop trajectory,” unable to slow the fall or land gracefully. The game requires a kind of “stubborn patience,” like the willingness to circle your objective many times before accidentally landing on it.

    Sounds horrible? It’s really not. As I unlocked abilities, like heaviness and gliding, I stopped trying to chart a course altogether. Oh, the pretty patterns you can make out of different coloured hair in space. Then, as soon as you stop striving, an offhand keypress will see you safely to the next level. It’s like when you think too hard about the process of walking, you trip over. I don’t pretend to understand it, but by the time the game was finished, I was definitely sad to not be whirling any more.

    So, launch into orbit and relax. There is much to enjoy. The artwork is gorgeous, colourful and quirky. You might meet a deer with knee-high socks or, as one “boss fight” plays out, collect lettuce for a hungry rabbit. Sounds easy? Herding lettuce at zero gravity, while matching angles and flight paths, is no mean feat, really. Who are these amazing creatures? Simply, the story and characters are lovely, with voiced dialogue like, “Welcome to the afterlife, here is your hug.”

    Another key component of the game is terraforming. You can make a planet bouncy if you need to propel yourself further from it. Or, if your objective is stuck below ground, turn it into a water world and swim to its core. I mean, I’m no expert on these things, but that totally makes sense, sort of, in a 2D context. Although the terraforming idea allowed for some moments of, “ah, I know what to do here,” it seemed underused, especially as most levels were solved chaotically, in my experience.

    Still, with a mix of things to do, like rolling ball mazes and variations on the path through the game, I never got bored. Frustrated, then Zen-like, yes, it’s a process. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Would I recommend it to some kind of astronautical engineer, or gravity expert? If you are such and you play it, please write in with a detailed analysis of the game’s controls. Otherwise, it’s a cute diversion to get lost in, ever twirling and whirling in beautiful space.

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