Gravity Rush, for the PS Vita, is absolutely fantastic. Possibly, my most played game on the Vita so far. If you aren’t familiar with the game; it’s a 3rd person, open world, action/adventure title. You play as a girl, named Kat, who wakes up in a strange city and finds out that she has the ability to control gravity. I won’t go too far into everything about the game (there’s better places to find recaps/reviews about it) but, suffice it to say, the most unique thing about the game is the gravity abilities. Whether you’re flying, sliding, racing, transporting or fighting, the developers found a bunch of different ways to get you to use Kat’s powers. One thing that was conspicuously absent was the lack of puzzles in the game. So, I thought I might take a minute to offer a couple of ways that I think they could implement puzzles into a future installment (should they decide to make one).
Perspective puzzles would give the player another reason to explore the game’s open world and it could tie in very easily with the “city life” feel of the world. You could introduce a new character, who’s into graffiti, and have him/her challenge Kat to find all of the tags they’ve left around the various areas of the city. The challenge, of course, would be to find the right way to line up objects in the city so that they form one coherent image. The player may need to be upside down at the time, looking straight down, or standing on the side of a building. There really would be a lot of possibilities with this because of the gravity mechanic that’s already in place. You could also use these types of puzzles another way. Have the player find three or four of them and then answer a riddle or guess what they mean. Kind of like Pictionary.
Simple “Fetch” Style Puzzles
This one is the more obvious of the two, but I still think it’s a worthwhile idea. There are areas in the city where Kat can unlock challenges by repairing city systems. The thing is, all you have to do to repair something is pay a small amount of gems. It feels like a missed opportunity. I would have the player search for a part of some sort (depending on what they’re trying to repair) and then bring it back to repair the machine with it. The actual puzzle aspect would come into play when you try to repair the machine. That would initiate a mini-game where the player would be tasked with moving parts into place, securing them, etc. It would be a great opportunity to use the Vita’s set of features too. The mini-games could be operated using the front touchscreen, back touchpad, gyroscope, or maybe even find a use for the camera.
I’m sure there are even crazier ways of using the gravity mechanic to implement puzzles into Gravity Rush. These are just two that came to mind while playing the game tonight. I’ll probably come back to this topic after giving it some more thought.