Grabbity may look like your average iOS platformer at first glance: control a friendly rabbit called Grabbian, guide him through the zone, avoid the traps, grab the stars, reach the goal and save your friends. But this debut title from Efecto Studios plays in a much more compelling manner than your average platform game in that, as the title suggests, your main friend and foe is the force of gravity.
On Earth, gravity is a constant force that pulls downward but in Grabbity, “downward” isn’t as clear-cut as it sounds. Rotating your iPhone or iPad allows you to revolve the in-game world 360 degrees and change which way gravity pulls. Manipulating gravity, jumping across traps and timing your falls as you rotate the colourful world around you are the keys to completing the 20 levels available in the basic version of the game.
There is a genuine challenge to Grabbity thanks to its responsive tilt-detection. Tilting your device will edge the game world only slightly and allow your character to walk in that direction. If you tilt too much Grabbian will fall too fast and turn to rabbit stew on the floor, but move around too slowly and you won’t get the coveted three stars at the end of each level, no matter how many coins you collect along the way. The entire game is a balancing act in more ways than one.
Grabbity is user-friendly from the get-go, with warning pop-ups whenever you hold the device incorrectly and tutorials available on each of the key game mechanics. As you progress further into the game you’ll be required to utilise each of them to advance, with evermore complicated and dangerous traps awaiting Grabbian as he moves through each world. A boss awaits in the final area of each level (the only actual in-game enemies) which can only be defeated through clever use of gravitational manipulation, thereby adding another layer of intelligence and puzzle-solving to the experience.
The idea behind Grabbity is an interesting and relatively inventive one (though it is somewhat reminiscent of the special stages in Sonic 4: Episode I) but the actual gameplay can be somewhat frustrating. The game often doesn’t register jumps or grabs unless you press down very hard on the screen and noone wants to risk cracking their shiny new iPad’s retina display for the sake of avoiding a few spikes. Often to avoid a trap you will need to grab the floor and revolve the world around you, but this requires you to press and hold the screen and then rotate your device through 360 degrees at the same time, making for an awkward experience.
Each world is brightly coloured and advancing through the game is a generally pleasant experience on the eyes. The occasional graphical glitch will appear but isn’t noticeable enough to really detract from the experience. The same praise cannot be levelled at the sound however, which comprises of the same irritating MIDI file chipping away at your eardrums throughout.
Grabbity provides an inventive approach to platform gaming, taking full advantage of the tilt technology available and favouring gravity-based puzzle-solving over outright speed or defeating enemies. The controls are somewhat sloppy and perhaps a bit more time could have been spent on shoring up the artwork but above all else Grabbity is an entertaining game which will keep you coming back to your phone or tablet for another go.