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While not as big of a discussion as it was a year or so ago, replayability has become a factor into how I grade games. Is it fun? Does it make me want to replay the game again? Is there enough to warrant picking it up a second time? I bring this up because I have recently been on a streak of games that have been hit-and-miss with this element in mind. Sure, some games are meant to be played once to capture the magic and emotional power of the first time you play it. On the other hand, I don’t like spending money on anything movie or game-related where I’m only going to touch it once. So, why do I bring this up? It’s because a good puzzle game has me conflicted with this element. Today’s review is going to be of GNOG, a 3D puzzle game published by Double Fine Presents, and developed by Ko_op. So, how is this puzzling experience? Well, let’s dive in.
GNOG is, well, like I mentioned, a puzzle game. The main goal is to tackle nine different puzzles, and beat the game. The interesting and most stand-out aspect of this game is the puzzle design. They are large heads with multiple little trinkets that you will need to rotate, slide, and push to solve each of the nine levels’ main gimmicks. You will be tackling heads that are themed around robots, frogs, sweets, theft, rockets, and so on. It feels like a virtual version of those Polly Pocket and Mighty Max toys that were big back in the 90s. Each puzzle will take you about a few minutes, if you know what you are doing. Every level actually gave me some push back, until I found out that they will give you subtle clues as to how to solve each problem. I got really addicted, since it made me feel like I was tinkering with otherworldly gadgets. The game will take about two hours or so to finish, and there isn’t much else to the game. The only other memorable element is that you can play this game in VR, and it definitely feels like that was the case. It’s perfectly playable, but you can quickly tell this was made for VR.
Graphically, the game’s best part, besides the puzzle design, is the visuals. This is a bright, colorful, visual overload of colors and personality. Everything looks fantastic, and it reminds me of other games like Loot Rascals and the Yellow Submarine film with its colors. It’s not a forgettable game in terms of visuals. It’s probably one of the most stand-out looking games of 2017. The music has calm techno beats that make playing the game a relaxing time. It’s not meditation-style relaxing like Flower, but I can see myself playing this game just to listen to the music.
So, what’s wrong? Well, that replayability comes to mind. I enjoyed my time playing the game, and I think it’s a fantastic game, but I can’t see myself really wanting to pick it back up. I know the puzzle solutions, so it would just take me even less time to solve everything. I think I also bring it up as an issue, because this game is $15, and I don’t know if I can recommend spending top dollar for such a short experience. That is, unless you want to play a visually pleasing puzzle game on your PlayStation VR. I would have liked more levels to play through, since the very last one was my favorite, but before I knew it, the game was over. No unlockable levels or level packs. It’s just nine levels and that’s it. There’s not even a multi-player mode with who can solve the puzzles the fastest. I get that the studio that made this is more art-focused, but sometimes, I want to buy a game or play a game that has a lot going on for it, and not just nine really nice puzzles and nothing else.
While I do complain about the replayability and lack of content, I did love GNOG. I think it’s a splendid and charming game that anyone with a PC or PlayStation 4 should purchase. I mean, if they are into puzzle games that is. I don’t know if I would buy it at full price, but if this is your type of game, then you should have no worries in spending cash on it. I would also like to see this game pop up on other consoles like the Switch or on Ipads. If you like puzzle games, games with personality and unique gameplay, then I definitely recommend checking out GNOG.
This game gets a 7 out of 10.