GNOG offered me a psychedelic, music infused, rollercoaster ride that offered unique and interesting puzzles within visually varied and artistically unique dioramas. The experience forced me to respond in the same way that I did the first time I went to a county fair, at the age of 6, and rode the Zipper, “I wanna go again”.
The feeling this game offers should not be ignored, because GNOG is a puzzle game that will attract players based on visuals, music, and interactive puzzle gameplay, but once a puzzle is solved, much like a magic trick, a player may be less interested. For all the unique and detailed visuals, there isn’t a lot of depth to the puzzles, which means that one play through of each puzzle will allow the player to see almost everything the puzzle environment has to offer. The game does offer a hidden puzzle in each level and such unique and interesting visuals and sound track that spending more time with the puzzles didn’t feel redundant, it felt like going to an art museum for the second time to look at the same paintings.
Each “painting” is interactive and has a front and back side that are connected. If you want to solve the puzzle on the front of the diorama, then you need to solve the puzzles on the back first or the two must be solved at the same time. The puzzle is more than the standard for interactivity. Different button presses will cause different things to happen. Sometimes this means that a specific sound may ring or the diorama itself may react to the press. For example, one of the early dioramas is a frog and as the player presses buttons with butterflies on them, the frog will move in an attempt to catch the butterflies. This kind of gameplay mechanic offers useful feedback to the player and places a unique spin on standard puzzle design.
The puzzles themselves are straight forward and easy to complete in order to open up the rest of the game, but each one has a hidden puzzle that is specifically tied to a trophy (these were harder to figure out due to the game’s hands off approach to player assistance). Where the main puzzle didn’t offer much in the way of difficulty, I only figured out one of the alternate puzzles during my time with the game and that bodes well for replay ability.
The game itself is straight forward and short (like almost every other PSVR game on the market). It offers a “story”, but not much of one. Each of the levels are boxes from a main character’s apartment and once each level is complete the game opens up another box. Basically, the overall story is the player unpacking moving boxes within an apartment…like I said, not much of a story.
The controls are simple, but effective. The right and left trigger spin the diorama, the left joystick moves the cursor, and the X button activates whatever is being clicked. The controls are tight and easy to use, but these minimal controls do set the player into a situation where if they just keep pressing the X button on anything that is clickable, eventually they will solve the puzzle. Even though the puzzles do get more complex this strategy still works throughout the game.
GNOG PS4/PSVR Review
GNOG is a unique puzzle game that offers interesting visuals, interactive and music infused puzzles, and seems more like an interactive art exhibition than an actual game. Due to the focus on the visuals, the controls are simplistic as well as the puzzles and the game is short. There are some hidden puzzles throughout the game that extend play time, but, like walking through a museum, many might not want to stare at the same puzzle for long stretches of time. With all that being said, if you were waiting to purchase a puzzle game on VR, this is the most unique and interesting one available.
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*Reviewed using a base PS4.