“Clear Skies with a Chance of Space Debris”
“GRAV is a sand box experience where you explore a multitude of planets, hunt strange alien creatures, build and defend outposts, craft weapons and armor, and attempt to survive against other players in a hostile environment.”
And check this: Steam green-lighted the title after 46 hours. That’s the kind of power people have when they truly like a game.
BitMonster Inc. released another game last year. The not so well reviewed “Lili: Child of Geos”. It was a mix-up of RPG with Grand Theft Auto mechanics but exclusively for children (so almost no whores, nor hot coffees). The game didn’t perform like expected but inserted a concept that was delivered in GRAV. The “harvesting”. OK, so it´s not 100% original. Harvesting is an essential mechanic in a lot of games. But in GRAV (like in “Harvest Moon” saga) is the main objective. Also, not getting killed quickly by random stuff like it happened to me when I played the game for the purpose of writing this review.
Let me give you a little reminder that I will repeat several times: this is a game in development. BitMonster has the concept rounded up. Everything else is wearing diapers.
If you check the visuals on their website or the videos uploaded on Steam, you’ll realize that are far ahead than what you are probably playing. The game is being developed with Unreal Engine and you can assure that on the videos but maybe not on the current gameplay. It looks somewhat shoddy, and a couple of years old.
However, that’s normal procedure for alphas. Developers need to get the game in every computer they can, so they cap the specs in order to fulfill lowest requirements. This shows some counter effects as the gamers with powerful battle-stations dismiss the game if it looks ugly. And I am not saying GRAV looks ugly at all. It has some beautiful visuals and the developers created the game by thinking in “infinite”: the ancient idea of “Procedural Generation by Composite Parts”. In two words, Endless Worlds. But as of right now, it doesn’t look THAT good and the graphics options are almost non existent.
The sound and music are ok but they don’t shine. They could also use a minimal balance. The environment sounds are too low in comparison with the collisions and hits. I was goofing around some jungly scenario with a soft piano music, looking for trees (or whatever) to harvest when a flying insect treacherously hit me on my back. The sound scared me like an infant at the sight of Santa Claus with his neck in a guillotine.
Anyway, I was roaming on the map and I didn’t quite understand what were my objectives. The controls are HARD to learn and help needs some improvement. Yes, OK, I can press F8 and read what every single key does but I would rather play and learn on the fly. “Hey, there’s a shed over there”, let’s investigate. Locked. Locked. Locked. F*** my level. OK, what do I do?
Everything else remained unknown. So, I pressed ESC and the MENU appeared. Oh sweet, a GRAV wiki (link at the bottom). But little it helped me to understand more. The wiki is almost empty and people are crying for help on the comments. Now we need to understand that an alpha early access is expected to have an almost empty wiki, but when too many people ask for help, it means the mechanics could be a little more user friendly.
The game lacks –by now- of a clear objective other than survival. OK, I have to harvest and collect specific amounts of items in order to use them for building and crafting and then I can defend myself or whatever. Yeah, that game is called Minecraft.
Stop. I’m not saying GRAV is Minecraft. At all. I’m saying that the lack of comprehensive background makes you wonder a lot.
We know the game is going to be awesome at some point, but we are not there yet. The visuals are going to be gorgeous. The music and sound FX need some improvement but they are coming. Everything else needs hard and steady work.
And I can say this with happiness: This is an ALPHA. Improvements are on the way. The amount of things to fix and the general bugginess will be reduced, and we´ll be at the presence of a great game. It shows and we are pretty sure it will deliver.
IMPORTANT: Early access reviews evaluate unfinished games. This title is a work in progress and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review’s publication.