GripShift for PSP is actually an original game and it is on the Sony PlayStation Portable. What a concept. A game that is an original franchise on the PSP and it is actually pretty good too! GripShift is a puzzle, platform, driving, action game that takes all of those genres and smashes them all into one that actually works. What you do in the game is drive a dune buggy style vehicle through over a hundred levels that are hovering in the sky to complete them in a certain amount of time as you try to collect a number of stars and a special symbol.
Completing the level under a certain time limit will award you with a bronze, silver or gold medal which translates to points and collecting all the stars and the special symbol in each level also gives you points. Completing levels under a certain difficulty setting and collecting enough points in the levels allows you to move on to other levels and/or difficulty settings. If you don’t have enough points then you will have to go back to levels you have already done to try to get what you missed. This adds replay value to each level and to the game in general.
Some of the challenges in the game are simple and some will take precise driving skills to complete. Completing a level will involve jumping from one floating platform to another, speeding through sections of the course with your nitrous boost, finding shortcuts, driving around loops, all while trying not to fall off the platform to your doom. The game at first reminded me of Super Monkey Ball with its floating platforms and puzzle gameplay, which is not a bad thing. I will go out on a limb and say that if you like Super Monkey Ball you will like this game, but you will also like the game if you like driving games and action platform games where you jump from one platform to another. Like I said, it is an original game style and it is a refreshing alternative to the standard first person shooter, racing, free roaming gangster, and sports games that seem to be a dime a dozen anymore.
GripShift’s graphics are also nice to look at and are bright and colorful. They are maybe not as detailed as other games on the system, but they fit the theme of the game perfectly. The graphics, vehicles, and characters are a little over-the-top and the color palette matches the fun and different gameplay in the game. Everything about the graphics fits with the style of the game and you shouldn’t notice any pop-ups or slow-downs during gameplay. The camera also seemed to always stay behind your vehicle giving you a good perspective of the action. Some of the puzzles will be a little difficult to judge because it is hard to figure out the landing point, but this is realistic. If you were jumping off a ramp in a real car I don’t think you would know how to judge the landing either from the perspective you have from your seat.
The music and sound effects in GripShift for PSP also follow suite with the fun and over-the-top gameplay. The music has a hip-hop and disco style to it and is enjoyable, but none of it will set the music charts on fire. I didn’t mind any of it, but if you are not into this style of music then you might find it annoying. The sound effects are made up of your engine revving, nitrous boost engaging, tires squealing, and other vehicle sounds you would expect in a driving game. You will also hear your character yelling as you fall off the level and different taunts from your competition in race modes. All the sound effects and music are well done and mesh well with the rest of the game.
GripShift also has multiple modes of play to keep you coming back for more. There is the standard puzzle mode that has you completing level after level, but there is also racing levels that have you racing up to three other competitors in single player or multiplayer ad-hoc modes. The racing mode also includes time challenge, practice, and championship modes to keep you busy. Just like Super Monkey Ball, GripShift includes single and multiplayer mini games you can unlock that include making you collect all the stars in a level before the time is up, penguin bowling, billiards in a car, ice hockey, and more. GripShift also includes two multiplayer only modes, which are Deathmatch and Tag. Deathmatch has you fragging up to three other players in an arena and Tag will have you trying to stay in it the longest to win. All of the modes of play should keep you busy for a long time and with the quick pick-up-and-play style of gameplay that GripShift has it makes it perfect for a portable game system like the PSP.
Lastly, if that wasn’t enough, GripShift has an in-depth level creator that allows you to create new puzzle and race levels that you can play and share with your friends. This level editor is kind of complex at first, but I am guessing that if you take the time to learn how to use it you can make some pretty cool levels and extend the game’s life even further.
GripShift is a fun and entertaining game that is a welcome addition to the PSP library. The PlayStation Portable has been lacking new and original games and GripShift hits both of those targets. If you like puzzle, racing, action and/or platform games you should like GripShift and with its multitude of game levels, and gameplay options it should keep you busy for a long time. Plus, when you finish all the levels in the game you and your friends can make even more with the included level editor to keep the fun going. If you own a PSP and are looking for an original game to add to your PSP collection then you should check out GripShift from Platform Publishing.
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