Airscape: the fall of gravity is an action platformer focused around gravity shifting mechanics. Airscape is published and developed by Cross-Product, this is Cross-Products first ever title and is made with Construct 2 (the game making software).
(There are no names for the characters in the game however I have added my own for comedy factor)
The life of an octopus was once a simple one, deep in the ocean with all your octopus and fishy friends. That was until the aliens came, they abducted you and all of your friends and transported them onto a mysterious planet. No one does that to Molokai the Octopi and gets away with it, you resolve to release all of your friends as well as your cephalopod (octopi) brothers from the alien menace.
On your journey as you release your octopi brothers, they will aid you in your fight, lending each of their special abilities. Together with Clyde the glider, Blip the teleporter, slow-mo and others, these alien invaders won’t know what hit them!. No matter how many worlds you have to transverse or how many traps and obstacles these aliens put in your way, these alien scum will regret the day they met Molokai.
The game actually comprises of numerous different (60+ within 18 different zones) levels, all of which presenting various different challenges, initially you’re presented with the gravity switching mechanic however gradually more mechanics are introduced for example fluids, lasers, mines and guns to name but a few. Each level will comprise a mix of these different elements which provides a constant challenge. Checkpoints are also used to alleviate frustration. In order to rescue your octopus brothers, you must first rescue some of your other fishy friends each of whom are placed around the levels for you to find and release, once you have released enough of them you’re then able to travel to a world where one of your octopus brothers are being held. Once rescued, you can use them as a playable character in the next level.
Each of the game mechanics are introduced in well thought out stages for the most part, meaning players will get used to individual mechanics before a new one is introduced, the way in which the fluid mechanic is used is actually extremely clever. Whilst all of these mechanics have been seen in other games I haven’t quite seen them used together in quite this way before which gives the game a fresh feel. On occasion players will find that some of the fishy friends in the levels will be re-abducted and as such unavailable, players can however go back to the level and only have to worry about the ones that they were unable to save.
On occasion the player may find themselves stuck but can use the “suicide” button which will bring them back to the most recent checkpoint. The only other issue that is worth mentioning is that players that are prone to simulation sickness (or motion sickness) may find the rotation of the game screen, particularly some levels make them rather ill, luckily you can reduce the rotation speed to assist you. Additionally checkpoints are used a little bit over sparingly and many segments can be extremely frustrating. Also the need to rush to the point where a friend is about to be abducted can also add additional frustration as well as additional satisfaction upon completion. It should be noted that the options menu is accessible from within gameplay as opposed to beforehand, however this may be a constraint of the engine.
Graphically the game is extremely cartoony and has an overall very cute and fun aesthetic which helps reduce frustration in levels as the graphics and animations are done extremely well. The music is orchestral in nature and changes from section to section from relaxing to “heroic”, there is also quite a fun sound mechanic whereby when underwater the soundtrack sounds suitably distorted by the water effect.
Overall I found my time with Airscape to be for the most part really enjoyable. Whilst the ability to swap characters is brilliant, it can only be done at the start point in the level which is rather disappointing as being able to either switch at will or at the very least at checkpoints would have provided players with both more meaningful characters and the ability to try different characters if they found they were having difficulties.
I personally found that the later levels ramped up difficulty a little bit faster than what I could keep up with and my enjoyment was decreased due to this. I also unfortunately suffer from the aforementioned simulation sickness, granted to a lesser degree but some worlds I found nearly unplayable, this may of course be subjective, if you are concerned over this there is a free demo available. The new characters should really have some kind of interaction when rescued with a demonstration of abilities as well as some flavour text from alien menace would also be nice, some local co-op would have been nice also. However it is otherwise an excellent title.
Airscape The Fall Of Gravity was reviewed on the PC
Full disclosure: Steam key provided by publisher/developer
Airscape The Fall of Gravity
- cute graphics
- excellent use of physics and mechanics
- new characters add nuances to the gameplay
- Simulation sickness sufferers may have issues
- lack of checkpoints overly increase frustration (hard core nature of the game)
- “new” characters/character switching underused
- later levels seem to ramp up the difficulty a little too fast