When you’re a kid, it’s not uncommon to hear parents chastising “don’t touch that”, “leave that alone” or “don’t stick your fingers in there”. But in GNOG you’re positively encouraged to poke, prod and generally fiddle with stuff to your heart’s content.
Published by Double Fine but created by Ko-op, this genius little puzzler just launched on PS4 with full PlayStation VR support and just charmed the heck out of us. It sees you working your way through nine self-contained puzzle packages, which each eventually take the form of a deliciously adorable singing head.
As you’d expect, each little box is more difficult than the next with puzzles evolving from simple curiosity affairs to jotting down codes and quirks to use in your quest to unlock each box.
Like a pop-up book for grown-ups
Unlike other puzzles, actually using your noggin doesn’t come into play with GNOG until later on. Initially, discovering how to unlock each one is merely a case of poking and prodding the various elements of the box of tricks until you find a solution. They’re like little lunchboxes of puzzling fun that you can unpack and discover at your leisure.
And although that might sound like an irritating trial and error mission, it’s so much more than that. Each puzzle head is basically a mini world, from sweet shops and kitchens to a bird’s nest and spaceship, and they’re full of character. These spaces are packed full of stuff to pull and twist, poke and prod and experimenting with them not only solves hidden puzzles but can also make you giggle. They’re basically toys or pop-up books for grown-ups and there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
The pacing is perfect too. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re on the right track to solving the puzzles – even if it does get a bit weird at times, just wait for the vomiting bird – but not know quite how the end result is going to play out. It all works out perfectly and unfortunately, that does mean you run out of GNOG fun quite quickly. There are nine puzzle boxes to play through and despite a couple of tricky moments, this isn’t a long game.
It’s not quite a flaw, but when the puzzling is this good, you’re always going to want more.
A soundtrack we need immediately
Thankfully, GNOG is so good that we almost feel a little guilty complaining about length. Aside from the excellent puzzling quality and the sheer charm of GNOG, what makes it so fantastic is the soundtrack. It’s the work of musician Marsyke and if they don’t release a vinyl for this bad boy soon, we may cry.
This is a genius soundtrack that evolves as you solve the puzzles, with different musical strands added in the closer you get to completion. And when you’ve finished that set, the head will revel in the moment for a while singing away along to its very own theme tune. It all feels tso triumphant and joyous that you can help but leave each one with a massive smile on your chops.
If you’re thinking GNOG sounds right up your street and you’re armed with a PlayStation VR, then you’re in for an even bigger treat. The entire game can be played in virtual reality and it really lets you get inside each head – almost literally. VR really makes each head come even more to life and the puzzles seem even more physical than they already do.
It’s by no means an essential requirement, but if you’re lucky enough to be rocking a PSVR in your arsenal, GNOG is one of the most brilliant virtual reality titles we’ve experienced.
Is GNOG good?
GNOG is a delight from start to finish. It might fall into the single-sitting category of games, but every level is full of charm, brilliance and interactivity that you won’t mind in the slightest.
GNOG is available now exclusively on PS4 (with PlayStation VR support) worldwide.