GNOG: It's GNOG, GNOG, Everyone Loves a GNOG | A Short Pause Review
As a musician, I've always appreciated when developers incorporate some sort of musical element into their games. Some titles employ rhythm or melody as a core gameplay mechanic, whereas others have a dynamic soundtrack that is fundamental to the experience and becomes part of the personality of the game itself. GNOG is a title that falls into the latter category.
Tale of the Tape
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Developer: Ko-Op Mode
GNOG is a colorful and melodic puzzle game from developer Ko-Op Mode. The visual style and soundtrack are reminiscent of titles like Hohokum and Sound Shapes, but the gameplay is a bit different from either of those. As you progress through the game, you will unlock and interact with nine unique GNOGS — which are like bizarre, colorful monster heads — each with a different theme. In order to complete each level, there's a series of actions that must be performed and puzzles to be solved. Each monster head can be flipped around to reveal a little diorama that can be moved and manipulated in different ways. There are no explicit directions to guide you, so it's up to you to experiment and discover which nodes to interact with and in what order.
Although the game has no overarching narrative, each GNOG tells a story in its own way, all without the luxury of spoken or written dialogue. You might be pressing buttons or sliding levers to help an astronaut repair his spaceship, or even catching worms to help a mama bird feed her chicks. One GNOG resembles an apartment building with multiple floors, and requires many steps to accomplish your goal. I enjoyed the balance of these puzzles, as they weren't excessively complex, but a few of them definitely had me scratching my head.
In addition to playing the game on your TV, GNOG also supports PlayStation VR. If you have access to a VR headset, I highly recommend putting it on to play this game, as it becomes a much more immersive experience. That being said, I played the game both with and without VR, and it's still enjoyable to play on the TV screen. If you don't own a PSVR headset, then at the very least I would suggest popping on some stereo headphones to enjoy the excellent soundtrack. Once you complete the objectives within each GNOG, you are rewarded with a sequence in which the monster head sings out with deep, bellowing notes while vibrant colors dance around the screen. All of this looks especially fantastic in the PSVR's stereoscopic 3D, and it sounds great in full stereo sound.
Although GNOG is a brief experience — it can be completed in less than 3 hours, by my count — it still is a very enjoyable one. The soundtrack is great, the presentation is unique, and the puzzles kept me engaged throughout. It's definitely a game worth considering if you love music as much as I do — especially if you also have access to PlayStation VR.
GNOG was reviewed using a digital copy of the game graciously provided to us by our friends at Ko-Op Mode and Double Fine Productions.
- Great Soundtrack
- Interesting Puzzles
- Unique Presentation
- Much Better In VR
- Only Lasts A Few Hours