It’s a well known fact that physics-based games live and die by their engine. SGS Team’s GROOVY, inspired by titles like Super Monkey Ball and Marble Madness, completely “drops the ball” in that regard.
In GROOVY, players take control of an otherworldly ball as it navigates an obstacle course. Though players can customize the color and aspects of said ball, there’s not much of a story or anything else to speak of. Not like a game about a giant ball would be a riveting tale, but the spartan (and ugly menus) make it seem more like a mobile game that was ported over than something well made.
Divided into four classes, the levels themselves don’t even have names. Though the game will only take a few hours to complete, said hours will feel like an exercise in tedium. Players take control of a ball and must complete tasks like collecting pieces of dark matter around each level. Even if you were to complete each objective in the short amount of time allotted, players are judged by the time spent completing each level. Better times net more stars, which are needed to progress past a certain point. This is a monumental task, and completion does not give off a feeling of satisfaction. Those who complete the game past a certain point can unlock a Survival mode, but the standards present there are even more strict and are not worth the effort.
This would just equate to a mediocre game, but the game’s physics are broken. There is no sense of momentum, and the wide chasms mean that death is imminent. Players are equipped with a jump, but it is more vertical than horizontal, and will have people flying in place. A double jump is available (and is an absolute necessity), but it does not help out much and uses a “gas” meter. This depletes far too fast, even in the earlier levels, and feels like it was not managed properly by the developers.
Rounding things off is a downright ugly presentation. One look at the screenshots, and you can tell that this game is not a looker. The high contrast, the out of focus look, and the Windows 95-styled menus clash heavily with one another. For a game released recently in Unreal Engine 4, this is a travesty.
GROOVY is a broken game. The physics, gameplay mechanics, and even graphics are lousy, and will lead to a bad time.