Grav|Lab is a physics-centric puzzler which has you devising ever more elaborate ways to guide balls from one point to another. A simple premise, but one that lools instantly appealing.
One of the HTC Vive’s most effective showcases early on was the wonderful room-scale application of the classic flash game Fantastic Contraption. It provided the perfect demonstration of how powerful freedom of movement and motion controllers can be in VR and that tactile gameplay executed well enough need not be weighted down with bloated plots to be a captivating experience.
Grav|Lab is a puzzle title which aims to take that tactile ethos and throw some extra physics-based gameplay into the mix. The game has you guiding spheres from a spawn point with your mission simply to get said spheres to the goal by any means necessary. Those ‘means’ take the form of a selection of platforms and tools made available to you and magicked into the world via a very near controller-bound menu system.
You may well have seen standard 2D titles like this before, the Incredible Machine series for example. But leaving aside the obvious appeal and instant gameplay satisfaction motion controls give you, constructing solutions to these physical logic puzzles within a 3D space you’re free to move around in, looks altogether more fun, challenging and rewarding.
As you progress, the solutions required by the game become more elaborate, and as well as platforms with physics-altering properties (downhill becomes uphill), the developer seems to be having great fun devising numerous gizmos to include. Mini launchers that propel the balls greater distances, requiring you to judge elevation and velocity as you build for example.
Grav|Lab is still in development for both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift & Touch and will be available this year via Steam’s Early Access program. No firm release date has been announces just yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we learn anything.