Rarely do video games cross my path where, after a spot of research before the game drops onto the store, I still cannot fathom what on earth it is all about. G Prime: Into The Rain could easily be classed as one of such games. Billed by the developers Soma Games as a Steampunk, slingshot puzzler no matter what I read or saw, I just didn’t get it. Naturally, I reserved judgement until I could get my hands on the game itself, but did that aid my comprehension of the concept to allow me to enjoy all that G Prime offers or does it merely baffle me further?

You can be the judge of that.

The people of the planet Ptah have spotted an anomaly in the sky growing bigger and bigger over the years, and the closer it got, the more the curiosity grew amongst them. Turns out it is a massive body of gas, dust and who knows what else – something which quickly becomes known as ‘The Rain’. Finding out the resources it possesses would be hugely profitable, the largest corporations then send out fleets of explorers on a mission of discovery. You are one of these explorers, a rookie at the helm of a vessel, aiming to bring home the findings to help humanity solve this mystery.

To do this, specialised sounding rockets will have to be fired from your docked spaceship to ping various targets whilst also avoiding any obstacles in the way. It sounds rather easy, but once you actually factor in things like the iceteroids (ice asteroids), with their own gravitational fields, the puzzle side comes to the forefront. Being able to achieve pings on the targets in an area using the least resources is the key; grabbing them all in one shot is the dream.

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In total there are seven main sectors with seven missions apiece, each having their own budget to adhere to. Spend too much by launching lots of rockets and it’ll end in failure. Monetary budgets are not ideal where trial and error techniques are involved and rockets are being churned out faster than match 3 mobile games, therefore you’re best to keep tweaking and planning shots until you get a suitably resourceful strategy before resetting that level. Fortunately, it remembers your settings after a level restart, thus making it easier to recreate the magical moments where you find a decent or perfect pathway for success.

There are numerous ways for you to effect the trajectory of these rockets, some of which I didn’t even realise until quite deep into the playthrough. Obviously the angle of firing the rocket from the ship is the most important aspect; however the other settings are a little trickier. For example, if the rocket has additional stages to it then you’ll have to set the force of the ignition propelling and the perplexing burn duration. Confused? Well, don’t fear, because it is entirely possible to get through almost the entire game without having to adjust the burn duration or indeed the impulse propeller.

Not everything is within your control though. As you progress through the sectors, more obstructions are added in an attempt to halt your success. Whether it is the iceteroids shifting the natural gravity pull or having to navigate past the various clouds, one of which can cause the rocket to explode, you’ll have to find a way around them. This is where the slingshot motion is at its finest, with multiple gravitational systems on the screen, using them to swing you around to each of the often widely spread targets can be crucial in avoiding the use of many rockets.

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Should the sounding rocket be slightly off-course, the built in thrusters can provide an extra layer of guidance, even though it’s in short supply. Unfortunately, making use of this simple mechanism proves to be hard work, due to an absolutely horrendous camera angle when a rocket is fired. It automatically zooms into the rocket from a side-on view; hence you need to keep moving the right analog stick to get a better view of where it’s going whilst also turning the angle of the rocket before unleashing a blast of the thrusters. It’s in no way intuitive and makes the slightest of in-flight tweaks a bit of a nightmare to perform, despite having the seemingly helpful indicators on the rocket display showing roughly where to go.

G Prime gives to the gamer what the gamer puts in. If you come wanting to fire a few rockets off with ease, a hand held tutorial and expecting the story to be handed to you on a plate then you’ll be slightly disappointed. That was my initial mindset until I got knee deep into the in-game manual. Here there is a ton of information about the missions, corporations, the solar system, a real guide to using the rockets and much more; thus providing me with a better grasp on the story and further ideas to improve my approach to launching rockets. Not that it told me anything overly exciting.

Apart from the nightmarish camera angle, the only real worry is the fluctuating difficulty throughout the sectors. Many of the opening sector’s levels were tougher than some that were closer to the end. Anyone whom becomes easily frustrated will down tools early on but on the other hand, the odd easier later levels will give a morale boost to keep going.

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Offering a pretty good gravity based puzzle, Soma Games have a cool game mechanic that really works here in G Prime. It is ultimately let down by the visual monotony of space, a rather boring story and an unnecessarily awful camera angle. Should you literally just want a test of your mental capacity for solving puzzles, and your stress levels, then it’s worth a look. For anything more… try elsewhere.

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5 years ago

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