Gorogoa (Switch) Review – This is art

Gorogoa (Switch) Review - This is art

Gorogoa is a puzzle game unlike any that has ever graced video games—as far as I know. The entirety of the game plays out in four boxes lined up in a comic book-like grid. Hand drawn images in each can be zoomed into, moved, stacked, and combined to solve puzzles allowing the story to advance.

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Gorogoa (Switch) – gameplay images provided by Buried Signal and Annapurna Interactive for this review.

Think of it less like a sliding box puzzle and more like ripping pages out of a picture book only to find out that when combined, they make one huge intertwined picture. The presentation is mind-blowing, but simple. None of the puzzles are all that difficult to anyone that can spot similarities between images. I’d say Gorogoa is a smidgen harder than a hidden picture book but can sometimes feel like picking up the round peg to put in the round hole; that is to say ‘a no-brainer.’

While visually Gorogoa is impressive, it is held back in other areas. There isn’t much music aside from some ambient sounds, which can make for some really dull moments when stuck on one of the more difficult puzzles. Playing with a controller means moving a cursor around the screen to click on points of interest, which feels like it lags a bit, while touchscreen feels more intuitive. That said, I’m a bit paranoid about possibly scratching my Switch’s screen, so I dealt with the not-ideal cursor control.

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Gorogoa (Switch) – gameplay images provided by Buried Signal and Annapurna Interactive for this review.

I ran into a rather nasty bug while playing that prevented me from being able to progress, which I only realized after I had pulled up a guide to see if I was overlooking something. Turns out if you mash the B button to zoom out from an image while a video is playing in another image, it will sometimes turn the video into a blank white box, thus preventing progression. Exiting the game will then load the incorrect images there meaning the only way to continue was to restart that section.

Thankfully the game offers checkpoints after each section, so it wasn’t too much of a headache, but a very inconvenient one considering this is a puzzle game and for about half an hour I thought I was just a dummy not seeing the solution at hand.

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Gorogoa (Switch) – gameplay images provided by Buried Signal and Annapurna Interactive for this review.

One thing that will surely turn off some potential buyers is the game’s length. My first playthrough took maybe close to 2 hours, but the game can be completed under 30 minutes—which wouldn’t be hard to do on a second playthrough. As there are no collectibles or secrets from what I can tell, there really isn’t a reason to replay this. It is kind of a one and done experience, which may be a bit steep for some at $17 CAD.

Gorogoa may be a short puzzle game that isn’t all that difficult, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in creativity and originality. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game like Gorogoa, a game that I can say with authority is without a doubt, 100 per cent art.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Jed Whitaker’s reviews, such as Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinity, Spelunker Party!, and Golf Story!

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Darkside Detective (PC) Review – Lovecraft Peaks

Darkside Detective (PC) Review - Lovecraft Peaks

I don’t know what it is about Detective Stories, but they have the potential to draw me in almost instantly. The intrigue of the “whodunnit” is one thing, but the “why” is often what grabs me the most. The former is a more Scooby Doo style, and the latter, popularized by Columbo, often deals with what a particular crime solver has to do to actually catch the perpetrator. Both formulas work well, especially when they’re blended—like they are in Darkside Detective.

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Darkside Detective (PC) – images via Spooky Doorway

A few minutes in and you will probably start picking up on the Twin Peaks and other surrealistic media references as you jump into the fray with Detective McQueen as your avatar. With a name like Twin Lakes it’s pretty on the nose, but honestly, this works in its favour. Nearly anything, supernatural or otherwise, could be lurking around the corner. You won’t need to keep your wits about you though, as this is more adventure than point-and-click. Most of the solutions can be brute-forced by simply clicking on everything, and not in a thinking man’s or pixel hunting kind of way. Combining items or where to use them on the environment is always clearly telegraphed, like using a light bulb in something that resembles a lamp.

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Darkside Detective (PC) – images via Spooky Doorway

There are light puzzles like deciphering iconography and the like, but most amount to dragging and dropping, and typically only take a few moments of your time. Honestly, while the learning curve is fine, I wish there were more of these, or cases that were a little more involved in general. It’s mostly about the journey though. Going from room to room or location to location is fun to do, especially when it’s coupled with the muted pixel art style that’s on display in Darkside Detective. Even if you’re sick of retro-themed games you’ll probably enjoy the level of detail that’s put into most of the areas, especially when you click on something for an up-close look.

There are a total of six cases to tackle, which is just enough to not overstay its welcome. By the time you close one case you’ll be ready to go for the next, and at the end, you’ll most likely be satisfied. The silly, at times the eye-rolling writing is what made me stay, as well as the retro noir soundtrack that doesn’t go too far over the nostalgic but cloying line. The only thing I could do without are the decade references, which often do cross that line. If I have to see the phrase “Malice in Wonderland” or some variation of it one more time…

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Darkside Detective (PC) – images via Spooky Doorway

Darkside Detective hit a few notes that I fully expected it to, but it didn’t exceed those expectations in any way. If you want to dive into a ridiculous but easy adventure, this is your modest huckleberry. It could have been so much more, but with an open-ended structure, Spooky Doorway could very well open up the same formula with a new and improved sequel featuring a completely different protagonist—if they wanted.

Antihero Review – Wonderfully Designed

Antihero Review - Wonderfully Designed

Tabletop-tinted video games fascinate me, especially asynchronous ones. Does anyone remember the glory days of Advance Wars, passing around your Game Boy to a group of friends taking turns blowing each other up? It’s a unique experience, and one I wish we saw more of. Antihero could very easily be a tabletop game. It has a lot of slow-going sensibilities and rulesets that are reminiscent of the genre, but the beautiful artwork and animations help bring it to life.

Read moreAntihero Review – Wonderfully Designed