“But I don’t wanna use my head!” – Rex, Toy Story 2
GNOG is a 3D puzzle adventure that takes players on a journey through a series of monster heads, or ‘gnoggins’, and the curious micro-worlds they contain within. Only by exploring each one inside and out and discovering its quirks to solve its puzzles will the exit be revealed.
Released: May 2017
Price: £2.99 – £11.59
GNOG features no language or text and uses mouse-only controls, helping to make this a very accessible title. However, it is clear that the game was ported from the original mobile release as the controls are quite unintuitive at times; for example, rotating objects or part of a Gnoggin requires sideways mouse movement. Whilst this is a bit awkward, it poses few major issues due to the relaxed pace, little need for precision and lack of timers.
Each Gnoggin has its own set of rules and puzzles ranging from spatial Rubik’s cube conundrums to time manipulation and bird feeding. Whilst the objective isn’t always immediately clear the solutions are mostly straightforward and somewhat instinctive. Similarly, whilst the logic-based parts of the puzzles can get a little tricky, the execution of the solution feels a little inane at times, requiring no further skill.
Despite the few minor issues, GNOG has some fun gameplay. It presents fresh and mildly challenging puzzles, maintaining a relaxing feel overall.
Narrative and Styling
GNOG has little to no narrative besides what speculations one might make about the various unique but interconnected Gnoggins and their interior micro-worlds. They are all unique creatures that resemble something else, such as a house or a rocket ship and each has its own distinct theme such as music, or a food level in which the aim is to help a mouse get some cheese!
The game’s clean aesthetic is made up of simple shapes, block colours and comfortably high contrast colour palettes consisting of a clever mix of bright, muted and pastel shades. As well as its own distinct look, each Gnoggin has its own style of music. Sounds include meditative ethereal drones, melodic sparkles, funky bass and upbeat dance music, but tracks always remaining in the background unintrusively, staying consistent with the laid back style of GNOG.
GNOG is a relaxing and enjoyable puzzle experience that can be completed within a couple of hours. It poses just enough of a challenge to stop it from being boring and presents a range of puzzle types for players to ponder over. It has a cute, clean art style, a relaxing, genre-spanning soundtrack and eclectic characters and micro-worlds that combine well to create an upbeat, stress-free game experience that is perfect for a rainy afternoon.
As a thank you to our Indie Hive readers, and in conjunction with this review, we have a Steam key for GNOG and four other Double Fine games to giveaway!
For more details and your chance to win (or just to chat about indie games), simply join our friendly Discord server and check out the announcements! The prize bundle will include GNOG, Hack ‘n’ Slash, Headlander, Iron Brigade and Psychonauts!
For more casual puzzle games, take a look at:
Sprout – A Free Puzzle Adventure about becoming a Big Tree! – Assemble with Care – Instructions not Included – The Pedestrian Review – With double the opinions!