Let's talk semantics: is it still a 2D platformer if your ponytailed protagonist doesn't run and jump so much as float and slingshot herself through the gravity wells of various interstellar bodies? I'm not sure, but in an indie games ecosystem positively lousy with platformers, designer Erin Robinson's "Gravity Ghost" stands out thanks to a slick little gravity mechanic.
"Gravity Ghost" isn't the first to use gravity as a neat gameplay mechanic -- from heavy-hitters like "Super Mario Galaxy" to Steph Thirion's ephemeral "Faraway," it's been done before -- but it's the first to couple it so nicely with paper-doll visuals and a soundtrack by "FTL" composer Ben Prunty.
As you can see, "Gravity Ghost" starts off relatively simply and eventually expands to include bouncy planets, breakable glass spheres, and, uh, giant galactic deer. With wings.
The nice thing about "Gravity Ghost," so far as I can tell, is that there's no way to really die or fail. If you mistime a gravitational swoop, our blonde rocketeer will simply double back and try again. Incidentally, the thought of accidentally slinging myself into the emptiness of space with no momentum to get back home is terrifying, but I doubt Robinson has incorporated that into her cute, meditative game.
There's also some sort of terraforming mechanic -- "Gravity Ghost"'s story is about re-creating a planet destroyed by a black hole -- but neither the trailer above nor the game's official website it touch on it.
"Gravity Ghost" is now available for pre-order on Mac, Linux, and PC. The game won't be out until sometime next year, but you can save $5 if you buy it before its release date.
Furthermore, your "Gravity Ghost" pre-order will actually give you two copies of the game. "Find that person in your life - an old friend, a parent, a smart little kid - and give them your extra copy when the game comes out," reads the site. "I promise it'll will bring a smile to their face, starting from the very first level."
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter