Gorogoa Reviews

TSA Score for this game: 101
Posted on 27 March 18 at 02:41
This review has 4 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Gorogoa, interesting name, even more interesting game. A buddy of mine at work who is a fellow programmer came over to me and said I have to check out “Gorogoa”. At the time I had no clue what it was and didn’t even know how to spell it. We had talked extensively about Zachtronic games and games that are like programming as well as Cookie Clicker, so I was confused. Later that day I walked by and I saw him playing it.

He was moving tiles around a whiteboard and the tiles were gorgeous, but the thing that enraptured me was how the tiles were able to connect. I went back to my desk and picked up the bundle on Steam with Edith Finch as I was looking forward to playing both games. I was not disappointed in the least with either purchase.

Gorogoa is an odd game, but the biggest thing to know about it is it’s absolutely one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. It’s not big, or stylistic, it’s just a gorgeous game filled with beautiful art. The game travels through a number of locations, but since everything is based on a tile it’s all simple two-dimensional representations of scenes. The way the tiles connect and interlace is a thing of beauty.

You can go from a beautiful tree to the inside of someone’s room, and back in a few clicks and each tile and transition is gorgeous. There are a few pieces at the end that really stand out, but there’s really never a weak image to stare at.

The gameplay is hard to explain but the idea is that the player is able to take tiles and position them, sometimes connecting them, sometimes overlapping them, and sometimes pulling them apart to change the images. Through the entire game, there’s a character on a quest to get five objects. The story follows him but the player usually has to leave him behind to solve some puzzle allowing the character to move forward. Examples of this can be as simple as getting an apple to fall out of a tree for the character by connecting the branches of the tree and letting a crow fly away, or to light up a lamp by layering the lamp tile over a star tile.

It’s rather brilliant the way the game plays with the art and the art is manipulated so simply by the player. There are complex puzzles here and a few tricks, but the gameplay here is in service to the art and the story, rather than being the core reason for someone to play the game.

That’s not to say this lacks gameplay, but the gameplay is a way to reach the next art piece and then you have a chance to explore it.

The story though is unique. It’s a wordless tale of a dragon that terrorizes a city, and a person who has to go get five objects. Without words, it’s hard to really understand or explain the story without someone experiencing it and honestly after playing through it, I’m not one hundred percent sure what I saw. It’s not obscure though, which is something I like. I don’t feel like the story is hidden or you have to make large leaps of logic. It’s just not clear exactly what the story is.

Yet the character’s goal is almost always clear. The locations and actions are wonderful and I’m sure people will claim to “understand” it, but I think it’s more an experience based game, than a direct narrative. The meaning of each part of the story is available to interpretation by the player, and the final story is one the player can develop through multiple playthroughs.

There are a few issues here. As great as the graphics are, the game has a few issues that it’s not immediately clear when the screen is layered. The player can sometimes remove a window frame from the screen, or pull an object out of a screen. Nine out of ten times this is a bit obvious, but there are at least one or two times that is hard to really notice and can be missed.

The game is also a bit straightforward, there are only a couple red herrings, and I’m not even sure there’s a true red herring in the game as I believe everything you’re allowed to do in the game is required at some point.

As an achievement fan, I’m a little annoyed at two of them. There is a 30-minute run which is very tight, and a 500-move one that isn’t displayed in the game, so I’m not sure if the game wasn’t counting my run for both of them, or if I went over and by how much. Just a touch annoying when attempting (and failing) a speedrun playthrough.

The final issue is going to be the biggest problem, this game is short. I believe I beat it in 90 minutes, I replayed the game, and as mentioned there is a goal to get under 30 minutes. 90 minutes is hard to spin for the length of the game. At 15 bucks, that’s a dollar every 6 minutes. You’re purchasing this game more based on the art than anything and that is a steep price. It’s odd because that should make me rage against this game, but I think the game is worth it, especially if you pick up the bundle that gives you a (small) discount on both games.

I feel forced to give this game a recommendation because I love the experience and the gameplay. The art is beautiful, the story, as hard as it is to nab, is beautiful, and I believe I played through it three times now. It’s not going to win the best value but it still will entrap and engross almost any player. I enjoyed it, and that’s what I’m going for, even if it’s a little more than I wanted to spend, I felt enriched by the end of it. I’m forced to recommend everyone else at least consider giving it a try.

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