Gravity Lab Review: To-The-Point Puzzling With A Touch Of VR Ingenuity
Gravity Lab makes the jump from PC VR to Oculus Quest today. How does it hold up? Find out in our Gravity Lab review!
Lots of launch-era VR games have, understandably, started to show their age in 2020, either dated in their controls or lacking in immersion. Mark Schramm’s Gravity Lab, though, remains a to-the-point novelty for VR puzzling, even if it doesn’t feel as groundbreaking as it might have used to.
Gravity Lab starts off as simple as they come. Set on an off-planet gravity testing lab, you need to carry out a highly scientific test – get balls in buckets. In each level, you have one machine that fires out orbs and various platforms and gadgets to help taxi a certain number of them to their destination. It’s Lemmings by way of a physics class – you might say, fire orbs halfway across a room, where they’ll land on floating ramps that peddle them in a specific direction, down through a gate to invert their gravity, then watch them float into the goal zone.
It’s a little eureka of a VR game. Assembling levels piece-by-piece, watching your creation steadily evolve and take shape carries mad scientist satisfaction, and seeing it all play out in a 3D space captures simple VR thrills. Many of the starting levels can be overcome with brute force, compiling an embarrassing number of ramps, hastily stickered all over the room to avoid any mistakes. But each of the 30 puzzles comes fitted with three difficulties, restricting the resources at your command, turning Gravity Lab from a breezy piece of experimentation into something a little more fiendish.
It isn’t long before Gravity Lab becomes a much more taxing experience, introducing more complex pieces, like gates that will trigger different actions or laser nets that block progress. The game requires such a specific degree of fine-tuning — from the angles of launchers to the gradients of ramps — that things can get finicky quickly. But, on the flip side, you’ll get a genuine jolt of pride when you sit back, press play and watch your mad little invention start to tick away.
Extra points go to some of the game’s special options too. You can enable all levels with the press of a button, for one thing, but I really like the Mini Mode, which scales levels right down and lets my tinker away from the comfort of my chair.
Gravity Lab Review Final Verdict
Gravity Lab isn’t as groundbreaking a puzzle game as it might have first seemed on freshly-released VR headsets, but its challenges are intuitive and carry genuine VR wonder, encouraging spatial experimentation. This is an enjoyable, accessible and (whisper it) incidentally educational piece of to-the-point VR gaming that’ll still put a smile on faces today. Not a bad return for a face from VR’s past, then.
Gravity Lab launches today on Oculus Quest and is already available on PC VR. For more on how we arrived at this score, check out our review guidelines.
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