It’s said that in space, no one can hear you scream. But it was never known whether such statement was applicable to badgers, until now…
Whether the reality of badgers in space fulfils some long-held dream is unclear, but the nocturnal creature hasn’t been seen on such an extraordinary adventure since Bodger & Badger went crazy about mashed potatoes. Gravity Badgers is as bold as it is stylish, recounting 80’s cartoons in both art style and the gloriously overindulgent rock anthem that accompanies the game’s main menu.
Told through nondescript illustrations, players will have to delve into the game’s manual to truly learn the narrative that drives your space-bound badger squad. There we learn that trained from a young age, the Gravity Badgers sole purpose is to protect the innocent from the dastardly schemes of the Hell Sett. Their scout ship, The Arctonyx, is attacked and the elite team captured by their foes, leaving only Captain T. Bayback as the sole survivor. He must, therefore, quest across space to rescue his comrades, his search eventually leading him to the Hell Sett’s main battle fortress, the Doom Sphere. It’s a notable plot that adds purpose to what you’re doing, and it’s a shame that this isn’t conveyed successfully through normal gameplay.
Any concept of safety is immediately thrown out the window, as, under instruction from Grandpa Ruskin, a young Bayback learns the ropes of what it takes to be part of the elite Gravity Badgers team. This is a game somewhat in the same ilk as Angry Birds, although without the destructive obsession. Players pull back from their adventurous badger to specify the power with which they wish to propel them across each level, your goal being a looming Worm Hole that allows you to advance.
It is what’s placed within each level that makes this increasingly challenge, a potpourri of objects laid amid the stars that make the Gravity Badgers job all the more difficult. Attract (red) and Repel (blue) planets employ gravitational fields that will alter your course, portals will relocate you between fixed positions, pipes will switch your direction, and triggers will unlock shields that lock objects away from you. Asteroids will swirl around causing concern, whereas colliding with an Ice Cube will allow you time to pause, think and then launch yourself in a chosen direction.
If you’re ever stuck on a level you can call your ship to take you to the next, although this can only be done once every 10 minutes. This makes the game more manageable to the broader audience that Nintendo attracts, especially when you hit the more devilish levels later on.
Each episode, their names humorously riffing off well-known films, ends with a boss fight that will see you battle to rescue one of your missing comrades in arms. These are expectedly more action-orientated, relying on you to dodge whatever mechanical monstrosity you’re pitted against whilst blasting back at them. It’s a nice change of pace, and more of such levels would’ve been welcomed.
Still, Gravity Badgers has in excess of 140 stages for you to work your way through, although Wales Interactive perhaps shows their complete hand too early. With all elements that each level comprises of revealed early on in the game, there’s the lull of repetition that creeps in as you progress through in entirety.
Another neat touch is the Wii U GamePad integration, which, whilst allowing for Off-TV Play, opens numerous options with how the player would like the sound to be outputted. That could see the music blaring through your TV with sound effects emitting from the GamePad, or hearing everything through either choice. A notable addition which I haven’t seen with any other games that have struck the Nintendo eShop.
Gravity Badgers is a death-defying jaunt through the vacuum of space. While it doesn’t completely ignite the senses, there is more than enough to sink your muzzle into considering the asking price.