There’s a lot to be said for games that are as easy to play as they are full of heart and charm. KO-OP’s puzzler GNOG is one such title, having a simple premise of solving nice different box puzzles that also happen to be monsters. Each has its own themes ranging from a broken spaceship or a candy store, through to a log where some birds live. It’s all very nice and easy.
GNOG’s puzzles haven’t been designed to stump players but instead try and delight through trying different things. Each head’s theme plays an intricate role in the way the puzzles are designed, though the general gist is roughly the same. Clues are in the environment regarding how to progress, be it a board with answers or pictures on the wall. They’re unmissable, but even without some of the clues each puzzle box is relatively easy to get through.
With nine puzzle boxes in total, it only takes a couple hours to work through a full play through. One did leave me scratching me head for a little, that being Lab, and it was through some sheer luck and mucking about that I found the solution. Playing about with the various levers and buttons is absolutely encouraged as you try to get something to click in your mind, and this kind of experimentation is particularly satisfying when it leads to the right solution.
GNOG’s graphical design grabs your attention with its inviting and incredibly bright rainbow of colours. Each of the puzzles look great and have this toy-like quality to them. That’s not just down to how the puzzles look, but the way they play as well. You can move them about to peer at the sides and the back, giving the impression that these are 3D objects that you’re fiddling with.
This is taken further with PSVR support, and while in VR, GNOG feels totally immersive. This mode lets you lean right in to the puzzles to check out details, such as being able to peer into drawers or just moving your head to look at the box from different angles. In the level select room the puzzles circle you and when you pick one to begin, the impression of being sucked in through a portal is fantastic. It isn’t necessary to play GNOG using VR, but give it a go if you have the option.
While the visuals are the obvious draw, GNOG’s music plays an integral part as well. Each puzzle’s melody is affected by the actions you take when manipulating it. In some instances the pitch or tone may change, or different elements of a song may be muted or introduced. The music isn’t just there as an accompaniment, but as an additional clue and solution to the puzzles, and once a puzzle is completed the monster head will sing its melody.
If you’re looking for a challenging puzzle game then GNOG isn’t it, but it is a game that entertains and charms. Personally I can see it being a big hit for those who want to play games with younger kids, as the bright colours and the generally quite easy puzzles may intrigue them. If that isn’t the case, you can still get lost in GNOG for a couple hours just as a way to relax. There is one key issue at the moment if you like trophies, as a bug is preventing them from being unlocked. A fix is in the works and should be out soon, if it isn’t already.
There’s nothing quite like GNOG out there in design terms , with each monster puzzle box giving the impression of being a toy. The VR aspect is a really nice option that enhances the experience too. However, while GNOG looks and sounds great, it doesn’t generally offer much difficulty, instead happy to almost point out the answers to you. A charming but short and simple puzzle game, it’s nice and accessible to everyone.