BACKLOG REVIEW: Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity

The most obvious thing Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity has going for it is its art style. A mix of candy canes and Tim Burton-esque level designs, this no-frills Nintendo DS puzzler just oozes style. Background images are vivid paintings, striking to the point of distraction. Even the moody music adds to the overall atmosphere. But is it the be-all, end-all of puzzlers?

No.

To find out why, click below.

There’s 100 puzzles to solve in Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity, and each of them varies from being obviously easy to somewhat tricky. The object of each puzzle is to hit a switch. Generally, this involves a ball dropping out of a hole, and it is then up to you to structure platforms and blocks to guide that ball to hit the switch. Of course, you can do this other ways, my favorite is to make a see-saw structure, drop the ball onto it, and fling another block across the room to hit the switch. That is actually quite rewarding.

Once you start playing, you are granted a select amount of “hint coins,” which you’ll spend if you get stuck to see how to get the puzzle rolling (pun intended). There is no way to replenish them though so spend wisely. I wasted a bunch early on, unfortunately, and found myself struggling through some tougher levels later.

The biggest criticism Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity deserves is that its controls are way too spotty. You use the touch screen to move objects around the level, but sometimes when you touch an object you’ve already put down it’ll disappear back into your inventory box. The face buttons do things like buy hints and start the action, which is fine enough, but the iffy touch screen controls dampers what could’ve been a fun aspect of the game. Also, trying to set up a perfect structure is frustrating due to the pyshics of game; one block too many or one too close to the edge can, much like gravity (wink wink), bring everything crumbling down.

There’s not much else to do in Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity though. A sandbox feature that I dipped into once, didn’t understand the fun of, and got the bleep out. Also, a couple of challenge mini-games like building the tallest tower, but that’s really it. No replay value whatsoever, but this isn’t a game I’ve played through start to finish. I like to pick it up now and again, solve a few levels, and put it away for some time. Since the biggest thrill the game can offer–for me, at least–is seeing the next neat background art, I’m fine with taking my time and enjoying Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity for what it ultimately is: an okay puzzler with pretty pictures.

5 out of 10

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