A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gravity Ghost is a downloadable platforming game wherein the protagonist is the ghost of a young girl. In the story, she explores her previous life, the deaths of her parents, and her own death, but play is never morbid. Between puzzles, the game explores family tensions and heartache from Iona's point of view. Controls are very simple to learn and use, and there's no failure within the game, meaning players have flexibility to create puzzle solutions by trial and error.
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- Kids say
What's it about?
Iona, a young girl of about 12, is the titular ghost in GRAVITY GHOST. In an unusual platforming style, she uses the gravity of planets and slingshot trajectories to fling herself through space, collecting flowers, animal spirits, and stars, which open the door to the next universe. It feels like a dream world at times, as she visits her memories and people in her past as well as fantastical creatures and animal spirits. She journeys through worlds and come to terms with her parents deaths, her relationship with her sister, and her own death. The story is a spiritual journey but never morbid. It may be sad at times, but it's never depressing.
Is it any good?
Gravity Ghost is a beautiful game, with pastel crayon-like art that looks much like an illustrated children's book come to life on your computer screen. It's a journey that starts with joy and innocence. Iona, the main character, hops from planet to planet, collecting special flowers scattered among her interplanetary travels. These flowers help Iona collect friendly animal spirits that are lost and looking for a way home as well as terraform planets and grow her hair. But shortly after her first adventure, Iona admits she's a ghost as well, and the happy mood is somewhat tempered as she spends time revisiting her past and what happened to her. Although the storytelling becomes more somber during these introspective moments, especially since the introduction and six star systems represent a stage in Iona's life (and death), the trip through the cosmos remains purely joyous fun thanks to the lack of failure provided in the game.
Players will discover lots of fun simply bouncing around each solar system, terraforming planets and rescuing animal spirits at will. The sense of being able to experiment with the physics of each planet provides a clever trial-and-error mechanic, allowing players to come up with clever solutions to puzzle problems. Each star system can be revisited and replayed as many times as you'd like -- kids can try collecting all the flowers, find all the tricks that make more flowers spawn, or see if they can go straight for the star, which provides an exit to the level. They also could try terraforming planets differently to see whether a softer (slower) or harder (faster, bouncier) gravity field would help them get that last elusive flower on the screen. Although the overall gameplay is about three hours long, Gravity Ghost allows a sandbox of creativity so players can mess around in a safe, friendly environment without fear of failure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the afterlife. Are ghosts real? Do animals have spirits?
Families also can talk about family issues and relationships. Do you like your sister/brother? Does she or he try to boss you around? How do you react? Does she or he also protect you and keep you safe? Do you like her or his best friend?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Science: motion, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
Emotional Development: empathy
- Price: $14.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Ivy Games
- Release date: January 26, 2015
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: NR for Not Rated
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.