Gravity Rush (known by the truly verbose title Gravity Daze: The Perturbation Born In Her Inner Space On The Way Back To The Higher Spheres in Japan) is an action-adventure game directed by Keiichirou Toyama of Siren and Silent Hill fame alongside Team Siren. The game was first revealed in a game montage at an event called PlayStation Meeting 2011 with the announcement of the PlayStation Vita on January 27, 2011. A trailer was then revealed at E3 2011 and the game was playable at the Sony booth. The game's story is told through comic book style cut-scenes with panels that players scroll through with the Vita's touchscreen.
Keiichirou Toyama stated that the concept of the game have been in fruition for more than ten years before it release, before his work on Silent Hill. The key inspiration for the games were French Comics as one had "images of people floating in space, whilst Anime and American comics influenced the character designs.
The game begins with Kat, the player controlled character, falling through the sky only to crash land in the floating city of Hekseville. When Kat comes too, she has no recollection of who she is, but finds herself greeted by a friendly, though mysterious, cat. This cat, which she later on names Dusty, grants her the ability to shift gravity. She immediately puts these powers to use as she tries to help a troubled citizen. Her Samaritan actions go mostly unrewarded, but through this experience Kat meets Syd, a cop on the beat, who fills her in on the turbulent history of Hekseville. It seems the city has seen better days as it constantly is raided by shadow like creatures known as the Navi. He also reveals that Kat is not the only one to possess such abilities, but that she is one of two “shifters,” the other being the mysterious Raven. From this point, Kat pledges to help the city fight off this phantom menace.
Kat performs a number of odd jobs, like finding a place to live, until she is recruited again by Syd to protect a sacred gem, a gem that was the last protective measure against the Navi. Syd tells Kat to sneak past the policemen who had been guarding the stone, switch it out for a fake, and return the real sacred gem to Syd for safe keeping. Upon doing this, Syd is revealed to be a man named Alias in disguise who absorbs the power of the sacred gem and runs off. The real Syd then stumbles out of the pushes, presumably knocked out by Alias.
After her counter with Alias, Kat stumbles across a fortune teller who sends her on a hunt to find her Mr. Destiny. After following the clues, she meets an old man named Gade who claims that he is the creator of the world. Kat is skeptical about the old man's claims, but he opens his coat, exposing a portal to another dimension where one of the missing districts of the city is. Kat battle's the Navi there to restore the lost section. Upon returning, Raven threatens her, but is calmed by Gade, allowing Kat a chance to slip past.
Kat continues to help citizens around the city until Gade decides that it's time to retrieve another piece to of the city. Upon returning from the other dimension, Kat is contacted by Syd to once again protect a sacred gem. The plan to protect it fails as Alias discovers there covert operation and steals the second gem. However, being that Kat is now significantly stronger, fights Alias and prevails, but as a result of fusing with a Navi, Alias dies. Kat then enters the strange dimension within the old man's coat to restore the third district of the city. Once inside she finds Raven who opposes her restoration project. The two fight, but ultimately Kat exhausts Raven and returns with the last piece of the city. Unfortunately, a myriad of Navi follow Kat back to the real world and are only overcome once the newly strengthened military pushes them back.
With the town finding a new level of equilibrium, Kat decides to find the most trivial problem she can help with and stumbles upon a girl who dropped a letter over the edge of the city. Kat begins to travel down the pillar that the city is built around and gets closer and closer to a black storm which brews at the bottom of the known world. As she begins to reach the bottom, she is again accosted by Raven. The two tussle, but their fight is cut short by the loud growls of something below them. Kat blacks out, only and awakes inside a cage surrounded by children.
She breaks out and aids her captors when the Navi begin attacking. Seeing that she isn't their to hurt them, the children reveal that their bus had long ago fallen from the city and landed near the bottom of the pillar where they found the ruins of an old village. Raven again shows up, but this time reveals that she had been opposing Kat because the up and coming mayor, D'nelica, had vowed to help her rescue the lost children if she prevented the various districts from being restored. Kat then promises Raven and the kids to get them back to Hekseville.
Searching for a way back, Kat meets Cyanea, one of the lost children separated from the village. Cyanea is asleep, but in this state reveals herself to also be a creator. She transports Kat to a dream like world where it is implied that Kat is far more important than previously stated, possibly implying royalty. This spirit walk gives Kat greater insight into the world, including a way out for the children in the form of a door into the Ark, a large flying tower like structure. The children enter the Ark, but are attacked by a powerful Navi named Nushi. Kat subdues Nushi, allowing Raven and the Ark to begin the journey home.
Kat begins to scale the pillar to return to Hekseville, but when arrives there, finds out a year has passed since she was last there. In that span of time, D'nelica had become mayor and turned the city into a police-state, but mysteriously Raven and the Ark had never arrived. Finding herself exhausted from the recent events, Kat returns home to rest. During her rejuvenating slumber, Kat has a dream where Dusty splits into multiple cats and faces Alias again. She collects the split Dusty and Alias removes his mask to reveal himself to Kat, but not the player.
The next day, the whole city is called downtown for the reveal of Angelica’s ultimate weapon against the Navi; Sea Anemone, a floating globe loaded with guns and missiles. Upon this proclamation, the city deems that shifters are no longer necessary and Kat is to be arrested. She is ultimately captured, but shortly after Sea Anemone turns on the city watch as it has a Navi core inside. Cyanea shows up and frees Kat and Dusty allowing them to confront the monster before them. Kat is aided by the military agent who had just arrested her, but together they can't beat it. Appearing to aid them is Gade, who asks Kat to use her power on him. From within his coat suddenly emerges the missing Ark along with Raven. Together, Kat, Raven, and the military agent are able to beat the corrupted Sea Anemone. Though the game does not end with an explicit sequel hook, the credits do hint at a number of unanswered questions, such as Kat's origin.
The main gameplay feature of the game is Kat's ability to control gravity. This mechanic can be used in both traversal and combat. By pressing a button Kat can float in the air while the player chooses a new center of gravity by aiming with either the right analog stick or gyroscope and pressing a button to fly towards the new "ground" which Kat will be able to walk freely on from that point on. At any time the player can reset the gravity back to normal or choose a new "ground".Kat is also able to navigate her environment through “gravity sliding.” In theory, gravity sliding has Kat shifting the gravity to pull her forwards and down, resulting in a motion that looks similar to skiing. Practically, the player puts their their thumbs on the bottom corners of the screen and tilting the vita the direction they wish to go and quickly raising the Vita to jump. One can also drift by removing one thumb and tilting. All of these shifting abilities do use up the gravity gauge presented in the HUD and once it reaches zero, Kat's relationship will return to normal and she will fall to the ground.
When It comes to combat, Kat's primary attacks are a basic kick attack that is used while standing on a surface and a flying kick that utilizes her shifting ability. The standard kick attack can be used indefinitely, but the kick is limited by the gravity gauge. As the story progresses, three special attacks are unlocked. The use of these attacks is not governed by the gravity gauge, but rather all three are linked to a singular cool down. Though none of these special attacks are necessary, they do far greater damage than the standard attacks.
Lastly, Kat is able to pick up objects and bring them into her gravitational field. She is then able to travel with them or launch them towards targets. This can be used for combat or to transport people and objects around the city.
The player is able to upgrade Kat's abilities, attacks, and health by spending precious gems. These gems are acquired through challenges around the city (time trials, rescuing citizens, etc.), defeating enemies, and pick ups around the environments. Although the limit to which Kat's ability can be improved is capped at the start of the game, this can be raised by completing the aforementioned challenges and by advancing the story.