This is one of my favorite games in recent years, and there have been a lot of great games released. This is by far one of Japan Studio's best works, and it's something completely different for them and for games in general. I really hope that people take note, and pick it up, because I need there to be a sequel.
Anyway, on to the game. The gameplay is fairly simple to get down and the tutorials explain it all perfectly. R1 to shift gravity (basically to float), then you pick where you want to be and push it again. This will shift gravity, and you'll fall to where you put the indicator. You can use tilt or the right analog stick to move around the cursor to pick where you'll go. I found myself using them both. You have a meter that determines how long you're able to keep the gravity shifted this way.
The game is an open world game for the most part. You go around four sections of a city most of the game, starting with one, and opening the others after doing story missions. The world is huge, but you can travel very quickly through it all. Even before you get upgrades to your abilities, you have manholes which allow you to teleport directly to a certain part of city (or your home; where you can manually save and change outfits). There are also trains and flying blimps that you can repair that originally take you to the new parts of the city that can be used to travel.
There are also areas that you visit that are separate from the city. Most of which you can revisit later, through certain means. Saying anything more about those, would be spoiling.
Gravity Shifting falls into my favorite thing to do in the game. I love to walk to the end of one of the cities then jump off falling until I pass the bottom of the city. Shifting gravity to stop in midair, then falling onto the bottom of the city. Walking around the bottom of the city is amazing. Then, I go back to the edge and jump off, then you quickly fall upwards back to the city and fall passed the skyline.
It's a feeling like no other I've had in a game. It's pretty amazing to think about, and even more amazing to do. This never really gets old. No matter how much you do it. Same applies to standing on the side of a building, then jumping off and falling sideways through the town until you land on another building down the street. It's incredible.
While 'flying', you'll encounter these purple crystal like things. Which you use to fix things in town and upgrade your abilities. The town fixing is cheap, and in return for 10-60 of them, you unlock a challenge mission. Ranging from killing enemies, racing through checkpoints or throwing things. They each have a variety of ways that they're dealt with. Each having 3 goals to reach, for rewards of the crystals. Allowing for more upgrades.
You can upgrade your health, kick power, power of your abilities and duration of your gravity shift (allowing longer 'flight'), how quickly your gravity power regenerates (highly recommended, at max it's about 1 second of falling before it's back and you're flying), and of course the power of your other abilities.
Battle consists mostly of attacking enemies weak spots. Straight forward, and to the point, but with the complete freedom of movement in complete 3D space it never becomes boring or tedious. In fact, late game you get so used to it that you begin to really get everything out of the combat system. Because you become so comfortable with the controls that you begin to experiment more, and everything becomes so much faster and more hectic.
The story is interesting for me. It's about a girl who falls from the sky, without memory, and who basically wants to help the people of the city. There's a cat that gives you the gravity shifting abilities, and another strange girl who has a Crow who gives her the same abilities. It's more character driven, than story driven. It's about Kat, and her dealing with the situation and her dealing with her want to protect this town from whatever happens.
Not everything was answered at the end, but the end was still fulfilling. So it didn't feel cheap or unfinished.
There's not much voice acting, and what voice acting there is in a made up language. It's done very well though, and makes me wish that it had full voice work in this language. The voice actor for Kat (the main character) is fantastic. Even the grunts are great.
The story is told mainly through comic book style strips. Where you swipe, or press a button, to go to the next panel. During this the tilt in the PS Vita shifts the picture, giving it depth. It's hard to explain, but it's really cool. And weird to do go through a cutscene like it while walking around. With some in-game cutscenes as well.
The art in these is beautiful. Which brings me to art design in general, it's wonderful. With cell-shaded character models, beautiful steam punk-esk city design, and really interesting special worlds thrown in as well. It's a site. The draw distance isn't that long, but you can still make out tons of things from a distance. You'll just see them as outlines. Which is actually pretty awesome and adds to the design in my opinion.
Loading isn't much of an issue. The only annoyances are how long it takes to reload something, like a challenge you're retrying, or when you go out of bounds in a story mission and it teleports you back. These take a really long time, when you'd think they wouldn't. Loading up one of the side areas (not related to the city) is really quick. Going back into the city, since it's so much larger, gets you a decently sized load time.
However, I don't find it an issue at all.
The touch features are good, and don't really take away anything. The 'worst case' is gravity sliding. You put two fingers on the screen, and you start to slide around. Tilting to control where you go. It's harder than it needs to be, but it's perfectly doable. Tilt works well for aiming, and the more wide turning during the gravity slide.
For the trophy people out there. The trophies are perfectly doable. The challenges and hidden bosses are probably the hardest. The challenges leave enough time for the gold medal so that you're able to, for instance, walk a bit through problem areas of the sliding challenges. Having your gravity kick, health and gravity shifting abilities maxed is a must for the hidden bosses.
If you're a Vita owner, you have to play this. It's by far my favorite Vita game, and I think it's safe to say it's the best game on the Vita as of right now.