With the resurgence of point and click adventures in recent years, it’s vital that games have a unique hook in order to stand out. Gorogoa certainly has that with its hand drawn art and the use of images within images to solve puzzles. Yet despite the fact that it’s a fun time and genuinely had me scratching my head at times, it’s over far too soon.
Played on a four panel grid, the main idea is that you can manipulate each panel in order to solve puzzles. These usually lead you down the long road towards getting another of the five fruit that are needed to complete the game. Much like other point and click adventure games, there’s one answer to each problem and finding it requires an element of observation.
Gorogoa isn’t the longest of games once you get used to the main mechanic. It took me around an hour and a half to complete, and this included getting stumped fairly frequently and resorting to trial and error to reach a solution. There is an option to make interactive elements shine briefly with a button press, but those are the only hints you really get.
Most of the answers make an element of sense; the key things to remember are that some pieces connect in some way and that there’s a panel you can remove from or join together with another panel. I certainly had fun with it, even if it was somewhat short-lived, but it’s certainly one of those games that’s only really able to be experienced the once.
Gorogoa’s hand drawn elegance is definitely something to behold. From the detail of the dragon in the introduction, to how each line is intricately and delicately drawn, the game has a unique and stylish look that tells a story without words. It’s pleasing to the eyes, just as it is to the ears. The music has an almost haunting tone to it that is also quite whimsical in its approach.
One area that doesn’t really get a great deal of attention is the story. Told entirely through images, it’s clear that the dragon is responsible for something, but it’s a tiny bit unclear what that represents in the grand scheme of things. The way the game ends disappointed me simply because it didn’t show well what the fruit you’re collecting does. Do I feel that Gorogoa’s missed a trick? Potentially, yes.
With a tad more time in development and a bit more thought, we could have had a game where there were multiple paths leading to multiple conclusions. The game seems to focus on time and space, so having multiple ways of gathering the fruit would have encouraged me to play more after completing it. This could just be artistic interpretation though and is far from the biggest problem.
Gorogoa’s main problem lies with its outdated linear approach. It’s a fantastic, distinctive looking game with a solid hook for progression through its puzzles, but it ironically doesn’t take a lot of risks. If you want a good hour or so to play a unique puzzle game, Gorogoa will fill that void, but just don’t expect it to do much more than that.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch