High Gravity Wells

Well here it is, my 100th review.  Okay, so I didn’t do Fortress Craft or any legendary Xbox Live Indie Game like I thought I should to commemorate the occasion, but really, it’s not that big a deal.  Besides, I was challenged to do High Gravity Wells, and I pride myself on putting developer challenges first.  Oh, and to the guy who did Kobold’s Quest, I really am going to get to it as soon as I can round-up four players.  ETA for review: roughly 2013.  Anyway, my 100th review shall be High Gravity Wells, a space-physics puzzler-slash-reflex tester.  Well actually it’s my 101st if you count the two-in-one Platformance review, but fuck that.  Two-in-one still counts as one in my books, and if it doesn’t, um, go back to Russia or something, Pinko.

In High Gravity Wells, you try to steer a spaceship into an exit.  Like Mr. Gravity, you have no direct control over your character.  Instead, you have to activate as many as four different gravity wells and slingshot your ship towards the goal.  Each of the four face buttons corresponds to a well.  If you hold the button down, your ship will get sucked in and rocket back and forth in it until you let go.  You can also lightly tap the buttons to gently nudge gravity, although I really stunk at doing that.  Along the way, you’ll also encounter asteroids which blow you up if you run into them, black holes that suck you in (but oddly enough don’t kill you.. way to downplay the most destructive force in universe), and things that look kind of like semen geysers that repel you.

The controls are a huge pain in the ass, but actually that’s kind of the point so I can’t really bust on it.  Still, I think it’s kind of silly that you would have a spaceship without any form of a thruster on it.  It seems rather dumb that anyone would leave the job of safely getting the ship and it’s crew to port using this ridiculous system of slinging yourself back and forth using gravity wells that are so strong they can actually suck asteroids out of their orbits and possibly into the very vessel you’re trying to save.  And who do they leave in charge of these incredible devices?  Some idiotic spaz who operates them like a 90-year-old operates a Cadillac, in this case played by me.

Don't worry if this pic doesn't make any sense to you. Just watch the trailer or play the game.

I kind of like these sort of games, but they all have the same problem of having difficulty spikes so sharp that could poke your eye out even if you’re standing behind ten feet of concrete.  I cruised through the first twenty or so stages with minimal effort, when suddenly my Xbox fired a magical brain-thickening beam into me that resulted in increased blood pressure and swearing.  Breezing past levels was replaced with getting stuck for upwards of thirty minutes, multiple time-outs so I could go cool off, and even one or two rage quits.

Sometimes the level design is so unforgiving that it can bring you to tears.  Not being a sadomasochist, I don’t really get off on stuff that is not pleasurable.  I did have quite a bit of fun with High Gravity Well early on, but once you reach your 100th death on a single level, it stops being entertainment and starts being fucking detention.  I’ve played a lot of games on Indie Gamer Chick which run out of fun before they run out stages, and it always leaves me unsure of how to ultimately tilt my review.  I didn’t finish High Gravity Well, having given up on the fourth stage of the fourth galaxy.  I realized that I had been playing the game on and off throughout the course of the day and hadn’t had fun in a few hours.  I think I can still honestly say that there’s a buck worth of good times to be had here, so give it a whirl.  But beware, because once things start to go bad, you’ll want to quit and do something else with your life.  But you might not be able to.   You’ll be trapped, oddly compelled to press on even as your life becomes an increasingly bleak and futile attempt to regain the glory moments when you were actually enjoying yourself.  Also known as “Broken Condom Syndrome.”

High Gravity Wells was developed by Stockton

80 Microsoft Points can’t count to 100 in the making of this review.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

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