I’m going to start off by saying the one thing Gravity Badgers‘ developer probably doesn’t want me to say – it’s a lot like Angry Birds. It’s perhaps a little reductive, but on the back of the massively successful iOS hit it’s hard to not be distracted by the similarity, or the disparity in quality. Gravity Badgers is cute, easy on the eyes, mildly funny, but that’s about it. I’d choose throwing birds at pigs any day, I’m afraid.
I don’t know what got small Welsh developer Wales Interactive so obsessed with combining space with badgers, but I like their ambition. For no reason whatsoever, the overgrown black and white rats are astronauts complete with space suits and jetpacks, and have a pretty biting sense of humour. It doesn’t bore you with story (though its tutorial drags like hell), it simply informs you that badgers in the space is the way it is, and lets you run wild.
I just wish the gameplay followed with the same eccentricity, with levels boiling down to slinging badgers past a set of obstacles and into the next portal. It’s through-and-through a mobile game, designed as a cheap and gentle thrill, but it doesn’t harbour nearly the same addictive factor as other mobile puzzle games out there. You could play an hour’s worth of Gravity Badgers and you’ve played enough. It has boss battles, which comes as a neat addition, but the controls don’t feel quite suited to it and they won’t blow your socks off.
Gravity Badgers‘ biggest issue is certainly its difficulty. Criticise Angry Birds for being a ‘casual’s’ game all you want, but its levels are sharply calibrated, and there’s always a pretty certain way the developers have designed for you to beat each puzzle. In the blink of an eye, Gravity Badgers‘ levels go from being absurdly straightforward to being a pretty sloppy sandbox of obstacles, leaving you at the mercy of the game physics – meaning you just have to keep trying and playing around with trajectories until you get lucky enough to score an accidental win. These ‘difficulty’ spikes keep coming back, and accompanied with some clunky hitboxes for portals and obstacles, it’s always hard to gauge if you’re actually getting good at the game, or if it’s just being weird.
I desperately wanted Gravity Badgers to stand out as much as its title suggested, but it never really reaches takeoff. After ten minutes of play it’s easy to feel like you’re throwing badgers around without really thinking or caring any more; it simply doesn’t put its own quirkiness to good use. Not a terrible cheap addition to your phone or Steam games list, but undoubtedly a missed opportunity.
[+Great art style] [+Some amusing dialogue, the concept of badgers in space is at least comical] [+A heck of a lot of levels, complete with boss battles] [-Clunky, inconsistent difficulty] [-Uninspiring challenges]