Qwiboo is not a game developer that is particularly well known. Looking at their previous history, they’ve had a few games released, one “Bike Baron" with some success, but nothing particularly notable and so it goes that their latest venture into mobile gaming follows that trend. Well made, but not necessarily memorable. Nothing out of this world or particularly original. Introducing Beyond Gravity.
The game begins with a short intro scene showing how your spaceship is hit by a meteorite and you crash on an unknown planet. Straight after that, the menu loads and you can get into the game. That instant drop in style already gives you a clue that this is a no-frills game that’s about getting stuck in as soon as possible.
Gameplay – Unimaginative but effective
Beyond Gravity is very simple. You jump from planet to planet, timing your jumps to collect as many screws (in game currency) as possible on the way. This simple task is made more difficult due to a variety of factors. Sizes of planets vary and so the smaller ones leave very little room for error. Fiery meteorites often appear, making your jump more perilous as you have to time it to avoid being knocked to your death whilst still trying to collect all the screws. Another added difficulty is the fact that the planets all rotate, in different directions and at varying speeds.
All this makes for enjoyable game that is easy to pick up but it soon dawns on you that this is all the game has to offer. In their (admittedly assumed) bid to make a simple, easy to pick up game, Qwiboo seemed to have forgotten to add any additional layer of depth. It soon becomes glaringly obvious how repetitive this game is. Jump. Jump. Wait. Jump.
The meaningless gameplay could have been saved by the upgrade system and in game challenges, yet here too Qwiboo seemed to have lost the plot, at least with the former. The upgrade system allows you to spend your collected screws to buy faster jump speed, upgrade your double jump to a triple jump, show you optimal jump angles and more. This should be an incentive to keep players grinding through the game, however the amount of screws required to attain less than half of the upgrades is excessive. It doesn’t incentivise playing as much as discourage players. It makes you wonder if Qwiboo even played their own game or just over valued the enjoyment of it.
The achievement system on the other hand is better and more realistic. You have 31 challenges to complete, each of which give you a hefty (used loosely here) amount of screws for completing them. Not enough to justify the excessive upgrade system costs however. Challenges including collecting a certain amount of screws in one game, dying in a certain distance, making it to a minimum distance etc. Hardly original challenges, but at least they’re realistic in terms of achieving them.
Graphics and sound – The only outstanding aspect of a mediocre game
The graphics are cartoon-like in design but it fits well with the nature of the game. The game art is well done and easy on the eyes. Every time you launch off, the theme of the planets change. They even went so far as to add some creatures on various planets you come across or add tree-like decals. It’s one of the redeeming qualities of the game, but alas not enough.
The sound continues the comical but impressive trend of the graphics, with the music that accompanies your travels being odd but fitting. It’s one of the few mobile games I’ve played that I don’t immediately turn off the sound and music. The clink of screws you collect on your run is reminiscent of the 90s when you would race through a level as Sonic.
The biggest tragedy of this game is that it holds so much potential. The gameplay is nothing new and simple to implement, but there is so much more that can be done to take it from a mediocre experience to an addictive game that contains that lethal combination of frustration and enjoyment. A combination many mobile games seek to replicate.
In the end however, this is simply an average game that will please the average user for an average length of time. It gets repetitive and the upgrades meant to incentivize feel so out of reach, it leaves the player discouraged and annoyed. If the game was better and offered more, maybe they would be justified. Whilst the art and sound are superb and fit perfectly with the nature of the game, it is not enough to make the game feel like a good purchase.
Beyond Gravity is available on Android and iOS devices. The damage to your wallet is R12.63 and can be purchased on the Playstore here and iTunes here. The size of the game is 27mb. I played the game using my Nexa Orion 10.1, a powerful yet affordable Quad Core 10 inch tablet, which helped me jump around from planet to planet.
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