Developed By: Art in Heart Published By: Raw Fury Category: Rogue-like, Action platformer Composer: Joar Renolen Release Date: 10.22.2020
The Publisher of two of my favorite games, West of Dead (which I previously reviewed) and Dandara, have brought gamers Art in Heart’s sequel to Gonner, Gonner2. I have never played Gonner (pronounced goner or gunner?) but based on the game style and learning it was a rogue-like I was exceptionally interested. It did not disappoint. Don’t let the adorably designed art, and bright colors fool you…this game is extraordinarily difficult.
Starting the game you are instructed “Press Jump to Die”. If that isn’t a foreboding instruction of what is to come, I don’t know what is. The game sets you on an adventure, where you pick up a skull, a weapon and a bag. Preparing you for being completely unprepared for the danger that awaits. The gameplay is incredibly smooth, but the enemies are exceptionally unpredictable, so of course I died…A LOT. The controls are fairly basic; jump, shoot, dodge, run yet handle very well. You will likely die a lot until you get used to the unpredictable world. Eventually you will find a rhythm, which will help even if it is very little.
Dying is it’s own weird experience. You fall into a purgatory style area where Death awaits. In this odd area you will pick up a skull for health, a backpack to store different items, power-ups, and a weapon to use for defense. Once you are prepped and ready to go, you jump inside the mouth of a “lama-worm” type creature (there is no introduction to the game so I have no idea what to call it) and you are sent into a procedurally generated stage. The world has been infested with odd beasts who are all bent on destroying you in a slew of different ways and you are pitted against them.
Once you arrive in the world, literal chaos ensues. You are basically pooped out (can I say that?) and thrown into madness. The stages are something special. The black backdrop seems like it wouldn’t fit, but due to the bright colors of everything around you it works exceptionally well. The feel of each level is exceptionally done. For instance, the level in the image above feels as if you are swimming even though it doesn’t look like you are in water. And if you live long enough to reach a boss, well good luck. They are far more than difficult.
There is a LOT to like about this game. While not for every gamer due to it’s difficulty, the game is a ton of fun. The music accents the stylized world perfectly. It has a cheerful undertone which genuinely and oddly adds tension to the game. It is a magnificent original soundtrack. I especially like that you can change the color of the character by hitting the round heart (seen above) at the appropriate time as colors are cycled. There are so many oddities laying about. It is as if both gravesites and trash dumps full of waste have been poured out everywhere; from lungs and hearts, to tea pots and televisions. You are able to pick up ammunition as you go, although that is often a chore. There are also orbs that you collect that tally up your score. The more you collect the better, because if you die you can “pay the piper” so-to-speak and get another chance at survival. Not life, there is no real purpose of existence in this game, other than survival in it’s basic form. And, you won’t survive long.
It goes without saying, as with most rogue-likes, I am absolutely terrible at this game. But that is a reflection of my own ability and not the game itself. I have only made it to one boss, a giant bird creature of sorts and lasted maybe two seconds before being thrashed back to Death’s doorstep. I haven’t played anything like this game before, and it could easily become a favorite. How the developers took such charming designs and made them into nightmares is beyond me, but I am incredibly impressed. The local co-op mode was playable to me, and while enjoyable I preferred to run solo because I felt an extra player added to the confusion rather than helping with the frustration of the disorder of the world surrounding. If you are looking for a challenge, a glutton for punishment like I am, get this game. It is worth every dime and every minute of your time.
Buy Now: 12.99
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*The Switch Effect was graciously provided this game code for review.