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[Nintendo Switch] Gravity Circuit Review

[Nintendo Switch] Gravity Circuit Review
EdEN
  • On July 25, 2023

Gravity Circuit from PID Games and Domesticated Ants brings us a fast-paced retro-styled 2D action platformer on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Gravity Circuit review!

 

Gravity Circuit from PID Games and Domesticated Ants brings us a fast-paced retro-styled 2D action platformer on Nintendo Switch. It’s a game that has been heavily inspired by the 1980s and 1990s classics from the Nintendo Entertainment System – a.k.a. the NES – with a good dose of Mega Man in there. Gravity Circuit’s look is interesting since it’s old-school 8-bit inspired but with some 21st-century bells and whistles that wouldn’t have been possible back in the day.

The game’s story takes place many years in the future in a world populated by sentient robots. Many years ago, a mysterious contraption – dubbed the Ark – was found. The bad news is that terrible power emerged from it: the Virus Army! The nine members of the Guardian Corps jumped into action. The conflict was long and devastating, and in the end, only a single member of the Guardian Corps remained. The people tried to repair Kai, but their efforts weren’t fruitful. Unfortunately, many decades later, peace has been disrupted by the Virus Army, which has risen from the ashes to once again wreak havoc.

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With the Guardian Corps MIA, the world was certainly doomed since the Virus Army clearly outnumbered them. The good news is that the scientist had a breakthrough and managed to heal Kai’s wounds. Kai can harness the mighty power of the titular Gravity Circuit. It will be up to you and Kai to travel through futuristic sci-fi environments as you defeat the underlings and big bosses in your path. The game offers a bit of a linear experience when compared to the beloved – and long-running! – Mega Man series, which is not a bad thing! This means you’ll be able to focus on learning and mastering each boss’ movement and attack patterns without having to worry about what special weapon can exploit a boss’ weakness.

After playing through the game’s intro stage, where Kai jumps into action to try and save the day, you’ll soon realize what is really going on. At the end of the level, you’ll run into Cable – a.k.a. Power Circuit – who just happens to be one of the Guardian Corps members that were defeated during the great war! It turns out that the Virus Army took all other members of the Guardian Corps and repaired them while also corrupting their essences, effectively turning them into Virus Army operatives.

 

The main gameplay loop for Gravity Circuit will have you exploring each area as you defeat a bunch of enemies of all shapes, sizes, and colors, collecting bits – more on these in a bit – and keeping Kai in as good of a shape as possible by avoiding incoming attacks and hazards such as electrified floors or the always classic deadly spikes. You’ll need to make the most of your abilities – such as a grappling hook or a powerful Cycle Kick – to destroy enemies and keep Kai from being harmed.

Speaking of which, Kai favors close-range melee attacks to defeat its enemies, which means he’ll have to get up close and personal with his enemies to be able to bring justice back to this world. This puts the game in a similar group as modern classic Shovel Knight and its many bonus DLC campaigns – which is why the original main story is now known as Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope – or the more recent Nintendo Switch release Bat Boy which, as the name suggests, features a character by that name that uses a powerful bat to strike fear into the heart of its enemies.

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Because of this, you’ll be taking control of Kai with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping with the B button, and running by pressing and holding out the ZL button. You can change this in the options menu and even add the possibility of running by double tapping left or right. If you press down on the D-Pad or the left analog stick and hit the B button, Kai will be able to slide. There’s also the option of wall jumping by hugging a wall and pressing the B button. Kai can also grab onto a ledge if he needs to pull himself up toward higher ground.

Kai can attack with the Y button. As you attack, Kai will unleash deadly combos using his fists and feet to deal some solid damage. You have a hookshot to help you during some of the trickier platforming segments – or to avoid attacks during boss fights. The hookshot can be shot in all eight directions, which is useful since it can also damage enemies a little from a bit of a safer distance. If the hookshot makes contact with an object, it will grab it, allowing you to throw it at enemies to deal damage.

 

There are also your Burst Techniques, which use Burst energy to unleash mighty attacks. Burst energy is represented by the orange pickups that you can find along the way. Each one that you grab will fill up some of your Burst gauge, which is located right below Kai’s health in the upper left corner of the screen. When the gauge is full, you will receive one Burst energy charge, with each one represented by green bars. Each time you use a Burst Technique, you’ll consume Burst energy charges.

You can activate different Burst Techniques depending on if you’re pressing a direction on the left analog stick or the D-Pad or if you don’t press any direction. This will depend on which Burst Techniques you’ve currently equipped Kai with – and to what slot – with a max of four Burst Technique slots available. What Burst Techniques can you use? Once you’ve bought them – more on this below – you could use the Burst Spark to unleash a ball of energy.

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There’s also the Flying Strike, which will make Kai jump toward an enemy with his mighty fist ready to strike. Another Burst Technique is the Heavenly Piledriver, which will have Kai lunge toward an enemy to, well, try and piledrive it! There’s also the Rising Upper, which can deal considerable damage as it sends enemies flying through the air. There are more Burst Techniques for you to purchase with the bits you collect – with 20 in total – but I’ll let you play the game to find out what they are!

Bits can also be used at the checkpoints you can find in each level so that you can heal all of your wounds. Do know that every time you use this option, the price will go up. You can also spend bits to purchase Boost Chips that will, well, boost Kai’s stats and abilities. Boost Chips and Buster Techniques can be bought at the Guardian Corps HQ. There’s a Boost Chip that can unlock a double jump and another one that can reduce your fall speed, so the more Boost Chips you have, the easier it will be to equip the right set to get the job done. This is why it’s important that you collect as many bits as possible as you make your way through each stage, as well as make the most of the bonus bits you get when completing a mission. There are also bonuses for clearing a stage as fast as possible, for not taking much damage while doing so, for how many enemies you defeated, and for how many bots you rescued.

 

If you want to have a better chance of succeeding in your mission and defeating anything and anyone foolish enough to stand in your way, you’ll need to search high and low to find all of the different health and Burst upgrades that will boost each stat’s max total so that you can sustain more damage or use Burst Techniques. Each level that you visit will have one or the other upgrade for you to find, as well as different bots for you to rescue… that is if you’re the type of gamer who likes to 100% games! For each bot you send back to HQ, you’ll get a Rescue Token, which can be used to research new chips.

Speaking of which, if that’s the type of gamer you are, then you’ll be happy to learn that Gravity Circuit features a long list of in-game challenges for you to complete. Some of them are secret – and I won’t be spoiling them in this Gravity Circuit review – but I can discuss a handful of the other ones. There’s one that requires you to beat 100 enemies in combat, another one for defeating 50 enemies with thrown objects, and a challenge that asks that you learn all Burst Techniques. You will also need to find all bots in the game that need your help. Oh, and you can also try to beat the game without collecting any health or Burst upgrades!

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Gravity Circuit is a fast-paced retro-styled 2D action platformer that pays homage to classics from the 1980s and 1990s, with the Mega Man series being a particular influence. As you take control of Kai, the lone remaining member of the Guardian Corps, you’ll be faced with a long battle against the Virus Army, which is out to conquer the world… with the help of your former comrades that have been corrupted by the Army Virus! The game offers a solid gameplay loop and plenty of stuff to do, with bots to rescue, upgrades to collect, Boost Chips to obtain, and Burst Techniques to unlock as you try to bring justice to the world before it’s too late. Gravity Circuit is out on Nintendo Switch with a $21.99 price tag, and it’s a must-play on the console!

Disclaimer
This Gravity Circuit review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by PID Games.

Review Overview

An outstanding retro-infused 2D action platformer on Nintendo Switch
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9

Rating