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Minimalist, frustrating, and intriguing. This sums up Gravilon quite nicely. The aim of the game is deceptively simple. You control a small square that you must guide to the stage’s exit. This is achieved through the use of two functions: moving left and right; and the ability to temporarily slow down time. The game world is made up of solid straight lines, floating black squares (that represent your previous attempts), and small white dots that, once touched, invert gravity. Humble parts, but put together elegantly make a platformer that tries to be something different and delights in the grinding of your teeth.
The level design is constantly surprising and inventive, forcing you to adapt to every challenge developer Gravdev has concocted. Every time you start a new level you spend the first couple of tries literally making leaps of faith (the exit has to be located first, of course). For a game made up of lines, the clone brush is pleasantly absent. You traverse the world by using the inertia gained from large drops and constantly changing gravity’s directions. The frustration Gravilon subjects you to is intense, and as a result your play session will average around thirty minutes a pop. There is only so long you will be able to smash your head against the proverbial wall before a break is needed. A stage will be seemingly impassible; however, upon return with a fresh mindset it is eventually overcome.
There is an intriguing story hinted at throughout the game, an explanation for the frozen world you reside in. While unexpected and arguably unnecessary for such a simple platformer, it does add an incessant drive to continue on. Gravilon and its mystery will take residence in your mind until it is solved. Each stage is layered one upon the other, and at seemingly random points the camera will zoom in a few levels ahead to give you a glimpse at future levels, hinting at something larger and revealing pieces of a puzzle in hopes that you will perceive its whole. The sound design is, again, minimal but notable. With nothing more than an eerie ambiance and the echoing noise your square makes against the world, it really emphasizes the stillness of the world. An added benefit? Keeping you calm after repeated failures.
For the extremely low asking price I fail to find a reason why you should not give Gravilon a look. While simple, it is executed brilliantly. Even the little graphical effects that are made when impacting a surface is gratifying. You will have a lesser experience if you try to complete it in one sitting; instead I recommend playing it sporadically. With some of the levels seemingly insurmountable I flew into a rage on many occasions, which led me to believe Gravdev may have sadistic tendencies. A break in between every few forays is best.
I enjoyed Gravilon sparingly over the course of a few weeks; its foreboding mystery kept it lingering in my mind between sessions. I shall be keeping an eye out for what developer Gravdev has coming up next.