Gravity Runner (99¢) almost feels like it’s caught between two opposing concepts. On the one side you have the ideas for a game embodied by something like Canabalt, where you just need to run and jump for as long as you can to gain a high score, and on the other side are the masochistic, super precise platforming experiences embodied by titles like Super Meat Boy.
As the name might suggest the core mechanic behind Gravity Runner is the ability to flip the gravity during your run, launching your runner into the air to land on platforms above you. The levels are designed to great effect, requiring you to flip the gravity back and forth to take advantage of the clear paths on both the floor and the ceiling to navigate your way safely to the end of each map. If you get tired of trying to ace each individual puzzle it also offers an endless run mode – the Canabalt style part of the game, where the entire goal is simply to run for as long as possible.
The problem I have with the core game, though, is that it feels far too floaty to achieve the precision you really need to do the absolute best in any given level. It works well enough that you can quite often make it from start to finish without dying, but every level has numerous coins on the map to collect. The average person might be able to ignore missing some of these, but I find it incredibly aggravating to be unable to perfectly run every level.
The levels get progressively more difficult, adding bouncing platforms and other additional mechanics which should make the levels more interesting, but only serve to make the levels more annoying. The biggest issue I have with Gravity Runner is the total crap design choices in some of the levels. I have hit parts of the game where it appears you have three clear paths to choose from, but you are unable to see far enough down the map to see two of them are walled off with spikes – instant death because of an inability to see what is coming is not good game design.
It is, in fact, the opposite of that. If the idea of a running game where you flip gravity seems interesting enough, you could give this title a shot. Or you could choose from some of the other games like this, some of which manage to take the concept and make it an enjoyable experience.