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Gravitronix - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Gravitronix

WiiWare | Medaverse | 1-8 Players (local multiplayer) / 2 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote / Nunchuk
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Review
3rd December 2009; By KnucklesSonic8

After well over a year of development, Medaverse Studios has finally been able to release Gravitronix, their very first WiiWare project. When you consider that the game was announced close to WiiWare's launch, it's quite exciting to see the game finally arrive after such a long delay. Since the game's release, though, it's been taking quite a hit from critics who have, more or less, cited that the game wasn't worth the long wait. What does this reviewer have to say?

    Well, before we answer any questions about whether or not Gravitronix is worth it, let's first take a look at the amount of work that went into making the game possible. Essentially, Gravitronix plays out much like a game of Warlords: players must protect their territories from incoming projectiles in a circular arena in hopes of being the last one standing. The game features two main gameplay modes: a single-player/co-op Campaign Mode and a Versus Mode where players can do battle with up to 7 other players. Games can be played competitively or co-operatively with either 4 or 2 territories. Sounds simple, sure, but when you actually play the game, you may be surprised to learn that beneath the surface lies an advanced level of depth.

    
You control your on-screen platform with the use of the Wii Remote (or Nunchuk, as the case may be) simply by tilting the controller in the desired direction. Each unit features a push beam that repels shapes away from your territory, activated by pressing the A button, as well as a second beam which captures shapes for you to hold with the use of the B Button. Whilst a shape is in your grasp, you can hold the A Button to charge it up and then set the angle by letting go of the B Button and tilting in the desired direction. Charging a shape produces a greater effect once contact is made, but doing so leaves you vulnerable at the same time, adding an extra layer of strategy in knowing when and when not to make use of it. Obviously, when using the Nunchuk the button configuration will change, but it's also worth noting that beginners should stick with the Wii Remote as they may find the Nunchuk harder to get used to.

    
Despite the fact that the tilting mechanism is pretty responsive, the controls do take a while to get the hang of, so it can be a bit unfair for first-timers when they're thrown into multiplayer battles with experienced players. The button controls are very simple but understanding the process of setting the angle after charging a shape will take a bit longer. For the most part, the controls suit the frantic nature of the game and if for some reason you can't get used to the responsiveness of the tilts even with short movements, you can always adjust the tilt speeds so that it better coincides with your twisting motions.

    Campaign Mode is where one should first begin to understand the ins and outs of the game. It's also a great feature to be able to go through the Campaign with a friend and it's recommended that you do so as it makes it that much more enjoyable to see how quickly both players progress in skill level. After the 10th mission, Campaign Mode gets tougher but it's good preparation for what you will be exposed to in the multiplayer battles. The developers added some nice touches with some challenging missions at the end of the Campaign but unfortunately, what may prevent most from experiencing these missions is the fact that all progress is lost once you quit the game. If would've been nice if there was an option to continue where you left off, in particular so that a co-op campaign could be continued over the span of a few days instead of in just one sitting.

    
For those who stick with the game and play about 10-20 matches, you'll start to observe the amount of work that went into Gravitronix that would normally go unseen. The level of physics found within the game is surprisingly advanced and there are many variables put into place, making for hectic multiplayer battles. There are 4 basic projectiles, each with varying advantages and disadvantages: spheres, cubes, prisms, and shards. For example, the shard is one of the faster shapes but it poses very little threat to protected territories whereas the cube is the slowest shape in the game but can do a devestating amount of damage. Once you learn about each projectile in more detail, you'll be able to develop your own strategies to use on the fly in a match. Continuing with the above example, one good strategy is to fire a shard at an opponent who's in the midst of charging their Cube to destroy a large portion of their shields. It's really gratifying to see yourself progress in that manner: the more matches you play, the more adept you become and the more tactics you develop.

    
Multiplayer is clearly the focal point of the game and provided that the concept takes flight with the people you're playing with, the game can be fun in group settings. Unfortunately, it's likely that the game won't grab you at the start so there's a risk that some may pass the game off as too simple for their tastes, instead of making the effort of going through the Campaign Mode. On the contrary, others will find that Gravitronix contains a surprising amount of depth, which is not only evident in the number of variables involved in each battle but it's also reflected in the large number of customizable options. Players are able to adjust almost every single variable in the game, from the charge speeds, to the number of projectiles. This allows you to create a ruleset that suits your mood, perhaps removing shield defenses entirely if you're up for a more gripping battle. The ability to toggle such a wide array of options is undoubtedly one of the better points of Gravitronix.

    
Although Gravitronix does a satisfactory job at delivering an intense multiplayer experience, it's not exactly the most presentable title. First, let's begin by talking about the characters. Save for maybe one exception, the characters are a bit dry and you probably won't pay too much attention to them until they utter their irksome (or in some cases, laughable) victory lines. What's worse is that turning off the sound effects gives the game an empty feel, so you're better off putting up with it. It's also too bad that Mii support wasn't included, as it would've worked well here.

    Then there's the music which, admittedly, is pretty decent, but there's only a couple songs that can be played in the background of a match. Gravitronix could've used more music tracks for sure, but that being said, the music that they did include suits the gameplay nicely with a prevailing theme of tension. Menus are really easy to follow and even the team setup screen was organized quite well. In a nutshell, presentation could've been something more (perhaps with a stronger sci-fi feel), but it gets the job done and that's probably all most will care for.

    
There are some aspects to the game that are a bit of a letdown in terms of quality, but thanks to such things as the game's deep customization options, Gravitronix serves as a decent offering for multiplayer gaming sessions. For their first game, Medaverse didn't do bad at all and we're quite hopeful that future titles are in store (especially given that they originally had intentions to use characters from this game in future titles). However, not everyone will be able to appreciate Gravitronix for what it is and for that reason, its best to take the final verdict with a grain of salt. If the concept appeals to you and you feel like your family/friends might enjoy it, then by all means, give the game the benefit of the doubt and spend the points.
 

18/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10  - Controls are pretty responsive, cool concept
Presentation 6/10 - Gets the job done (nothing more, nothing less), some nice music, could've benefited from stronger sci-fi elements
Enjoyment 3/5 - Can be fun in groups, playing a co-op campaign is more fun than playing by yourself, gratifying sense of personal progression
Extra Content 2/5 -  8-player support, Mii support would've worked well, rewarding co-op campaign

Gravitronix
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Review by KnucklesSonic8
 


 
 
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