Gomo: Review

The point and click adventure genre has seen a renewed surge lately, thanks to the big budget titles of Telltale Games such as The Walking Dead. Daedalic Entertainment are the arthouse studio to Telltale’s Hollywood, putting out smaller games that receive a large volume of critical praise: Deponia, The Night Of The Rabbit, and Botanicula to name a few. The rapidly growing company are looking to close out 2013 by publishing Fishcow Studio’s debut – Gomo.

The most striking aspect of Gomo is its wonderful art. Each asset is hand-drawn, the world lovingly crafted to evoke a playfully dark tone like Invader Zim or Ren and Stimpy. Gomo himself is a puppet-like creature with a stitched-up mouth and blank eyes, granting him an unsettlingly adorable visage as though he was pulled from a cartoon nightmare. It’s a very simplistic art style that avoids getting bogged down in complications that would hinder it.

It’s remarkable how expressive Gomo is without the use of voice-acting thanks entirely to the fantastic animations. Whether he’s just navigating the world’s vertical obstacles with his long arms or nonchalantly tossing away a now useless item, the action is drawn in such a delightful way that you’ll find a grin on your face as the impish Gomo goes about his journey.

The jovial soundtrack goes a long way in setting the tone of the game, the music creating a carefree and mischievous air that fits Gomo like a glove. They’re also just genuinely good, infectious pieces of music; the kind that you’ll find yourself humming as you walk away from the game.

The story is a simple one: Gomo’s best friend – his pet dog – is kidnapped by an alien who demands a crystal in exchange. That’s really all there is to it, but there is a certain joy to be had in its entirely visual delivery. Not a single word is spoken, Fishcow Studio instead relying on their aesthetics to tell their tale – a task they perform incredibly well.

This focus on visual conveyance extends to the actual mechanics of the game. The few tutorials are delivered mostly through images that communicate far more effectively than a wall of text would. This works brilliantly; the player won’t even feel like they’re being taught anything but is rather making sense of elements they find in the world, offering a vastly more rewarding sensation no matter how artificial.

There’s nothing dramatically new to the gameplay, it’s pretty much a standard point and click adventure. There are a few refinements though: For the most part you’ll use items pretty quickly after finding them, and they otherwise won’t appear in your inventory until they’re needed. This might appear like an over-simplification of the genre, but it beats going through an overwhelming inventory one item at a time.

In this way, the game avoids the trap that many point and click games fall into of forcing a pixel hunt on the player. Gomo mostly uses observational puzzles, rewarding your ability to see patterns in the world that will lead you to the solution. What it sacrifices in depth with the simplistic mechanics is made up for in how well-crafted it is.

The most enjoyable part of Gomo is the level of absurdity on display. There are tons of cute moments that may seem superfluous but are there for the most delightful of purposes: Just to make you smile. One example of this is the hungry locker that will eat Gomo whole, chew him up, and spit him out – all in order to get a card that would be placed on a table in lesser games. It is again the charming animations that make these abundant moments truly endearing.

This also plays into the solutions of certain puzzles. If shaving a sheep so it’s light enough for the balloon to send it into the sky, enabling you to read the code tattooed on it, is the kind of convoluted ridiculousness that gets you laughing, you’ll be doing so a lot. What little text appears in the game is used for a similar purpose, such as the highly important instructions that read “Pedal’s Do Nothing,” the poor grammar only adding to the humour.

The game also features a ton of pop culture references: There are nods to the Addams Family and Star Wars in here, as well as a screen set in Gomo’s version of The War Of The Worlds. These can also be used in a rather ridiculous and jovial fashion, such as Gomo using The Matrix’s bullet time in order to avoid the deadliest of foes: A rock. The broadness of these offers something for everyone.

The only complaint that could be levied at Gomo is the length of the game; it can be completed in roughly ninety minutes. However, this might work in the game’s favour. While ninety minutes isn’t a lot, you could easily rack up hours in the game by coming back to it every month or so without a daunting time investment.

Gomo is a ruthlessly charming game that will force many smiles and bursts of laughter from you whether you like it or not. If simplified mechanics don’t bother you and you can appreciate a game of a shorter length without feeling cheated, it is definitely worthy of a purchase.

critical score 7

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Adam S

Hailing from Parts Unknown, Adam grew up with a passion for three things: Videogames, anime, and writing. Unfortunately his attempts to combine the three have yet to form Captain Planet, but they have produced some good byproducts.

Leave a Reply