I'll be the first to admit that I've never considered myself particularly talented at puzzle games. Usually, I get stuck on things that are rather obvious and make dumb decisions that don't quite make sense. Regardless, I'm still attracted to the genre as a whole, and Gorogoa caught my eye thanks to its lovely visuals and interesting mechanics. Does this puzzle game leave me stumped, or will I get through its cunning conundrums?
Gorogoa follows the story of a young boy who is trying to collect a bowl and five orbs. Why is he doing this? Well, it's never really spelled out. The game mostly makes use of symbolism to get across its story. From what I can gather, the kid is growing up in a war-torn city and coming to terms with his surroundings as he gets older. Maybe it was just me, but I had a difficult time figuring out the story through what little information I was given.
What's really important to the game is solving puzzles. The game has you looking at a picture frame broken into four squares. Each square gets its own unique picture, and many of them can be zoomed or panned to discover new areas to interact with. Importantly, these squares can also be connected or broken apart, letting characters inside of them see from new perspectives and move to otherwise inaccessible locations.
For example, one puzzle required me to get a kid through a door that only a mouse could fit through. I found another square with an area that could connect to the door, allowing the kid to move to that square. I could then zoom in on the door without zooming the kid as well, then all I had to do was discover another tile that matched with the one the kid was currently on and the door to move him back and through the door. Not overly difficult, but fun to solve after a minute or two of fitting the pieces together
Over the course of the game's ninety-minute runtime, the base mechanics never change significantly. You'll be zooming in on pictures, moving them around, and looking for combinations that work best. Despite this, I was always impressed with how Gorogoa found new and creative ways to use these mechanics for puzzles. Some pictures could be layered on top of or underneath other pictures, allowing them to combine into one in different ways. See an empty spot in a picture? Maybe you can fit the star from another picture in there to brighten things up. Or you can put a gear into a picture of a kid climbing stairs, letting the gear turn when the kid climbs.
I'll admit that I don't want to talk too much about the situations I played through or the mechanics I saw. Part of the joy of a puzzle game is getting to discover all of these scenarios and then working your way through them. Gorogoa excels in this, and I don't want to be the one to spoil your journey into the world if you find yourself interested.
To really sell the puzzle pictures, Gorogoa has an absolutely lovely art style. Each picture is a combination of hand-drawn art and 3D models, blending so that it looks like a moving painting at a museum. In addition, the game has a wonderfully fitting soundtrack, keeping nice slow piano themes while I solved puzzles while occasionally ramping up in intensity as a strange dragon-like creature moves in the background.
While Gorogoa was a bit on the short end and I wasn't really sure what happened during the story, that didn't matter much to me in the end. I was provided with some fantastic puzzles that really had me thinking how to solve them, all while enjoying some lovely art and music. If you're a real fan of either of those or both, then Gorogoa is well worth checking out.
Gorogoa was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by the developers. The game is also available on PC via Steam and iOS.
With smart puzzles and lovely art, Gorogoa is well worth grabbing for anyone who's a fan of puzzle games, even despite its short length.(Review Policy)
- Smart Puzzles
- Simple, Fun Mechanics
- Lovely Visuals and Soundtrack
- Short Length
- Story is Difficult to Parse