Review: Gravity Duck is cute, but deceptively difficult
At a Glance
Gravity Duck, a $1 universal game for iOS, stars a little pixelated duck who has been sent by his Easter-Island-like deity to collect all of the golden eggs on an island. He’s been given the ability to reverse gravity, effectively transforming the platforming gameplay into a much more complex and interesting enterprise. Across the games’100+ levels, you’ll be guiding the adorable and silent duck to capture these eggs while dodging spikes, killer caterpillars, and other classic platformer enemies.
The game controls are as simple as the premise: you can move and you can reverse gravity. There are some small caveats, however: you can’t reverse gravity while in mid-air, and if you want to change the plane you’re walking on (instead of walking on ceilings and floors, walking on walls, for example) you need to hit a special button.
You wish the game were as whimsical as its name suggested, because the gameplay is throw-your-iPhone-out-the-window-difficult. There are so many ways for Gravity Duck to die, and there are no save points for any level. So if you’ve figured out how the duck just near the goal, only to have him walk into some spikes, frustration sets in as you have to start the level—albeit short—over again. For the most part, each stage can only be solved using one particular strategy, and this funneled feeling is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game. Bigger stages with more features and abilities would have done wonders to keep this game on my iPhone longer.
In fact, with a more ambitious budget/vision, you could see Gravity Duck finding a home on a major console in the retro 16 bit niche—that’s either a testament to the game’s great concept and art or it being overly simplistic.
If you’re interested in a clever and streamlined platformer on the iPhone, you could do a whole lot worse than Gravity Duck.