Gravity Bone

Amazing Atmospherics

Free Download
Brandon Chung

What's most remarkable about Gravity Bone is its sheer sense of style. From the bizarre cube-headed NPCs to the fuzzed-out interscene narrative with its "generic symbol" iconography to the cool bossa nova track of the first level, Gravity Bone is replete with well-conceived touches that reinforce its atmosphere, which is a strange combination of James Bond cool and sheer surrealism.

What's particularly canny is the way it blows up the idea that visual quality is inherently tied to high-poly models and teams of hundreds laboring over hot workstations running Maya; the characters have cubic heads, and cube are dirt-simple to model, but this is a conscious stylistic choice. Fuck photorealism.

The indie game blogosphere, such as it is, has been all over this game; Game Tunnel branded it the best "art house" game of 2008; Destructoid says it's "so stylistically unified, so consistently cool and weird and imaginative, that it's damn near impossible not to fall in love with;" Auntie Pixelante says it "succeeds where photorealistic voice-acted three-dee stories stumble because it stays in the realm of the abstract." What's a little weird, in fact, is how over-the-top the praise has been; it's a cool game, but it's also a straightforward 3D platformer, and it's not merely "painfully short" (as Derek Yu says), but awkwardly abrupt. I have no problem with "short," but just as short fiction needs different pacing from novels, so do short games; while the ending sequence is astonishing, it also makes you think that Chung got to a certain point and said "Screw this, I've wasted enough time, just end the fucker."

So yeah, play this thing, definitely. But I do wonder why certain games strike an immediate nerve with people, and others don't. Gravity Bone is cool, but its gameplay is less strikingly original than its visual approach.


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Originality be damned

Original gameplay is just a means to an end.


This might very well be my favorite game of all time.

Fuck strikingly original gameplay. Seriously. Fuck it.
We're past the 90ies.

Yay, I played a video game.

That game made me feel like I wa splaying a good one. At the very first seconds of it, I felt the way I felt when I first played Half-life. Everything around you is so natural that it just sucks you into that world and you ARE Gordon Freeman/Guy With No Name Nor Face.
A big part of this immersion feelinh here is due to the fact that you just play the game, you don't go through a menu where you chose how or who you're going to play, you get involved right away, and all the informations you need you can find them around you.

As for its shortness, it's true that it's a bit abrupt, you barely have the time to enjoy it, but maybe that's for the best. It might have gotten boring at some point, and maybe very soon.

So yes, definitely worth playing, but let's not forget about long, intense, hard video games. These are great too.