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Let's Play, NEWGROUNDS EDITION: Gravity Duck
Black Wolfe

[table of contents]
Session One: Meet the Moai
Gravity Duck is a Newgrounds Flash Game that's currently on the front page. I picked it because it's on the front page and the description says it has forty levels, which means I should be able to get some content out of this. It appears to be yet another platformer with a gravity-manipulating mechanic. This will be a blind Let's Play. The first entry will be the first 5-10 levels, depending on how long it takes to write up each one.

Edit: 10 levels. The first six or so are really simple, and I wanted some actual, I dunno, content.

...

The game starts with the usual "Let's change the Newgrounds logo to show the main character" deal, and I can deal with that. The retro music is catchy as hell, and I've still got the title screen up as I type this part. I'm half tempted to just do a Let's Play of the title screen because this song is a fucking Ear Worm and I can't bear to risk stopping it by starting a new game.

...

INTRO We are greeted by a Moai. Who refers to us as "My Little Minion." I don't think I like that much.

 
BRING ME 40 GOLDEN EGGS AND I WILL MAKE YOU RICH!
YOU NOW HAVE THE POWER TO CONTROL GRAVITY.

Called it.

DO NOT FAIL ME... NOW GO!

What... a... DICK!

Attention Newgrounds. We know how arrow keys work. "Move from the left side of the screen to the right" is not worth an entire level.

This is more like it. A simple, easy-to-solve level that introduces the game's central mechanic. "How to move your character" belongs on an introductory screen, not the first level.

Note that I am currently upside-down. This is because some idiot forgot to screengrab the beginning of level 2.

SHOWN: An object (spinning clockwise) that rotates gravity (clockwise) when a collision occurs. NOT SHOWN: Gravity Duck jumping. NOT PRESENT: A jump button.

So we position ourselves under the spinning yellow balls, reverse gravity, and...

D'OH! SCREEN CAPTURE MISSING

Huzzah! An actual puzzle mechanic that can lead to some seriously fun screw-ups on later levels!

Maybe this game is front-page worthy after all.

Here we are presented with our first possibility of death. Stepping on the spikes kills you. Wow. I wonder if we have a trope for that.

As an experiment, I decided to try reversing gravity while falling, to see if just once, a game with gravity manipulation would allow me to levitate by rapidly swapping gravity.

It turns out, when you die, you just sort of blip out.

Presented with this challenge - OMG, THERE ARE SPIKES AT BOTH ENDS OF THE PIT WHAT DO I DO - I chose to take the above-marked path. Challenges in a 40-level game are likely to take a while to actually become, y'know, challenging.

On a side note, I then backtracked to the beginning of the level in order to get a screenshot of the starting position.

Wait. 40 levels. 40 eggs. Dammit, I was hoping for occasional interruptions while Gravity Duck reported back to his stony superior.

It occurs to me, I'm not going to get to reuse that awesome Moai image until the end of the game (if even then) unless I make up some dialogue for him.

YOU'RE TAKING YOUR SWEET TIME GETTING ME THOSE EGGS, DUCKY BOY.
Some quack-for-brains motherquacker keeps leaving me hanging at the beginning of each level.
WHAT FOR?
I don't know, but whatever it is, I bet it's stupid.

Screw you, Gravity Duck. I'm killing you, next level.

At first glance, this looks simple. Then, you take a closer look and you realize that, yeah, it's pretty damn simple. Reverse gravity, hit spinning vortex on the way "up", reverse gravity again, reverse it one more time, fall off the ledge on the "right", reverse it one more time... Wake me when I need to think, huh, Gravity Duck?

*SPLAT*

Right, right, controls don't shift when gravity does. Okay, let's try that again.

*SPLAT*

That was embarrassing. But I got through on the third first try.

Okay, now we're talking. This is more what I expected to see around level three or four, though. Two vortexes, and they're offset from each other. Remembering that to move up when gravity is to the right, you actually press up means when I hit that vortex, I have to rotate my brain 90 degrees as well. Figuratively speaking.

That was pretty easy, actu... al... ly...

Oh, Level 8, where were you three levels ago? This is what I came to this game to see. Look at the placement of that first vortex, how you have to move away from the Spikes Of Doom right after hitting the vortex, or you splat?

Then you have to switch gravity back and forth to cross the middle tunnel, then comes another vortex/Spikes Of Doom combo. If I screw up that last one, I might still be able to salvage this.

So far, so good. This is just like Level 5, only sideways.

Okay. At this point, I am second-guessing myself. I believe that if I just swap gravity at this point, gravity will switch to upside-down when I hit the vortex, causing me to have to avoid spikes reflexively. I don't want to test my reflexes while simultaneously trying to think of witty things to write. Therefore, I should not switch gravity from right here.

I'm gonna do it anyway.

 
FUUUUUUUU—

*DING*

Oh. Whew.
 

Hey, look. Moving, deadly obstacles. With tiny little Spikes Of Doom on them.

FUUUUUUUU—

Don't be a pussy, it's a simple timing puzzle.

Given the nature of our history together, I'm not at all confident in your ability to manage any kind of...
 

Yeah, While you were complaining, I went ahead and solved the level.

Oh.
 

Okay, ten levels and end of the update. This one's a piece of cake. Both of these vortexes spin clockwise - I wonder if later vortexes go counter-clockwise? - so it's a simple matter of reversing gravity under the first one, then reversing again once we land, to position ourselves on the left wall instead of the right. Then we reverse at the very edge of the pit on the left wall, and that vortex sends us down to the grassy, welcoming down.

I shall now attempt this.

I. Am. Awesome.

Well, go ahead, Gravity Duck, claim that last egg and end the update.

YOINK!

11th Dec '10 7:38:35 AM flag for mods
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BioSafety 16th Apr 12
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