Gorogoa

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Gorogoa
Gorogoa logo.png
Developer(s)Jason Roberts
Publisher(s)Annapurna Interactive
Composer(s)Joel Corelitz
EngineUnity
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
iOS
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Android
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows, iOS, Nintendo Switch
14 December 2017
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
22 May 2018
Genre(s)Puzzle
Mode(s)Single-player

Gorogoa is a puzzle video game developed by Jason Roberts and published by Annapurna Interactive. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and iOS on 14 December 2017, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in March 2018, and shortly thereafter an Android and Kindle Fire release.[1]

Gorogoa has the player manipulate images placed in a two-by-two grid, exploring within each image as well as placing or stacking images relative to others, to solve puzzles. Through the puzzles, the player guides a boy as they encounter a strange monster among a landscape that becomes war-ravaged and then rebuilt. The boy grows older and ends up as an old man reflecting on his past. The game, solely developed by Roberts, started as a failed attempt at an interactive graphic novel, and took nearly six years to complete.

Gameplay[edit]

Puzzles in Gorogoa involve manipulating the scenes within each of the panels, as well as moving the panels around themselves to connect them up and create new scenes.

In Gorogoa players are presented with up to four images in a two-by-two grid. Most images can be manipulated on their own, such as zooming in or out from the image, or panning across the image. The player can also move the image to any of the other grid spaces. In some cases, the image presents a hole such as a doorway, so when moved onto a different image, the moved image becomes a mask to cover the existing image, creating a new image. Through this method, the player must stack, combine, and explore each image to find a connection between them in order to advance and open new areas.[2][3] Players are not guided through the process, as the game contains no language, and must work out what they need to do to finish each level, though when the player has successfully completed a connection, the images will briefly animate on their own, showcasing their result to the player.[4][5]

The plot involves a boy seeking an encounter with a divine monster, exploring themes of spirituality and religion.[4][6] The scenes in the game follow periods of time in the 20th century, including peace, war, and rebuilding, and the life of the boy as a survivor of war, living through the rebuilding, and then reflecting on his past as an old man.[7][8]

Development[edit]

Roberts at the 2018 Game Developers Conference

Jason Roberts began development of a card game inspired by interactive comics in his spare time while working full-time, but later decided the style was too complex.[2][4] Roberts considered writing a graphic novel,[7] but following the success of indie games such as Braid, he realised he could combine his love of art and interactive video games, despite knowing very little about how to develop them.[9] Development on the game began in 2011, with Roberts quitting his full-time job to focus on the game.[7][10] Originally planned for release in 2013, Roberts ran out of money two years after starting development. He was able to fund his work for another year through investment from Indie Fund, and in December 2016 Annapurna Pictures announced that it would begin publishing games as Annapurna Interactive, with Gorogoa being one of its first published games.[7][11]

Roberts adopted the title Gorogoa from a name he invented for an imaginary creature in his youth. He chose it for the game because it was not part of any existing language, wanting the game to be accessible to anyone, regardless of language, and therefore also choosing not to add any to the game.[4][6]

Gorogoa was originally written in a custom-built game engine created by Roberts in Java, but it was ultimately ported to the Unity game engine by Wholesale Algorithms[12] so that it could be more easily distributed on multiple platforms, including the Nintendo Switch. All illustrations are hand drawn by Roberts.[13] Roberts cites David Roberts, Gustave Doré, Christopher Manson, and Chris Ware as influences to his art style.[10] Roberts also stated that his was indirectly influenced by Byzantine art, due to travels to Istanbul and other similar locations. Roberts found such two-dimensional art challenged him of how to explore that within three dimensional spaces within his puzzles. Further, it helped to suggest a world with a similar history to the real world.[14] The game's audio, for the first few years of development, was composed by Austin Wintory,[7] until Roberts decided he wanted a different style and instead hired Joel Corelitz, who also composed the audio for 2012 video game The Unfinished Swan. Eduardo Ortiz Frau is the game's sound designer.[15] The score is a composite of audio from each panel currently viewed by the player.[7]

The game was revealed at the 2012 IndieCade, with a demo version released shortly afterwards, and was released in full in December 2017.[15][16][17] Roberts says the game took much longer to develop than he anticipated, in part because as his drawing skills grew he kept going back to re-draw earlier scenes.[9][18] He also scrapped and recreated large completed sections of the game multiple times during development.[7]

Reception[edit]

Prior to release, Gorogoa won the Visual Design Award at the 2012 IndieCade,[32] and in 2013 won the Good Game Club top prize.[33] The game also won the 2014 Independent Games Festival Excellence in Visual Art award for which it also received honorable mentions in the Design and Narrative categories.[10]

Following the full release of the game, it received generally positive reviews from critics, holding a score of 84/100 on PC and 91/100 on iOS on Metacritic.[19][21] Reviewers particularly praised Gorogoa's illustrations and graphics. Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica described the game as the "prettiest hand-drawn, hand-illustrated video game ever made",[34] and Philippa Warr, writing for PC Gamer, called it "utterly beautiful".[35]

Writing for The Verge, Andrew Webster praised the game's lack of frustration, rarely finding himself stuck or unable to progress with a puzzle as a result of the game's design, a sentiment echoed by Warr.[35][36] In VentureBeat's review, Stephanie Chan praised the game's accessibility and the satisfaction of completing the puzzles.[37] Rob Kershaw at Jump Dash Roll agreed, writing that Gorogoa was "beautifully illustrated" and "a marvel of game design".[38] Machkovech, though, found some annoyance with puzzles which didn't have a clear solution process.[34]

At two to three hours, the game's length was described as "short-and-sweet" by Machkovech, albeit wishing it was longer.[34] Some reviewers, such as Warr, expressed a desire to play through the game multiple times to digest the story.[35]

Eurogamer ranked Gorogoa 49th on its list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017",[39] while Polygon ranked it 35th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.[40]

The game was nominated for "Best Mobile Game", "Best Puzzle Game", and "Most Innovative" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards.[41][42][43] It won the award for "Best Mobile Game" and the "Innovation Award" at the 18th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, whereas its other nomination was for "Best Debut" (Jason Roberts/Buried Signal);[44][45] it was also nominated for "Excellence in Art" and "Mobile Game of the Year" at the 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards.[46][47] In addition, it was nominated for "D.I.C.E. Sprite Award", "Mobile Game of the Year", "Outstanding Achievement in Game Design", and "Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction" at the 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards;[48] and for "Game Design, New IP" at the 17th Annual National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards;[49][50] and won the award for "Debut Game" at the 14th British Academy Games Awards, whereas its other nominations were for "Artistic Achievement", "Game Innovation", "Mobile Game", and "Original Property".[51][52] The game was nominated for "Best Storytelling", "Best Visual Design", "Best Indie Game", and "Mobile Game of the Year" at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards.[53][54] Polygon named the game among the decade's best.[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cragg, Oliver (19 June 2018). "Gorgeous award-winning puzzler Gorogoa up for pre-registration on Play Store". Android Authority. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Farokhmanesh, Megan (25 May 2013). "Puzzle in the picture: how Gorogoa brings art to life through mind-twisting challenges". Polygon. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  3. ^ Meer, Alec (12 October 2012). "Windows 2013: Gorogoa". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Hernandez, Patricia (14 November 2012). "If You Like Comics Or Trippy Dreams, You'll Love This Game". Kotaku. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  5. ^ Smith, Graham (4 December 2013). "Hands On: Gorogoa, A Puzzle Game About Pictures". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  6. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffrey (11 October 2012). "Brilliant hand-illustrated Indiecade finalist Gorogoa now has a demo". Eurogamer.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Kohler, Chris (14 December 2017). "The Puzzle Of A Lifetime". Kotaku. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  8. ^ Geraldi, Matt (11 January 2018). "Gorogoa wants to get you thinking about much more than its breathtaking puzzles". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b Campbell, Colin (27 January 2017). "The ineffable loveliness of Gorogoa". Polygon. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Graft, Kris (18 February 2014). "Road to the IGF: Jason Roberts' Gorogoa". Gamasutra. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  11. ^ Tom Regan (1 December 2016). "Movie studio Annapurna Pictures now makes games". Engadget. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Official AMA with Jason Roberts, the developer of Gorogoa!".
  13. ^ Petitte, Omri (11 October 2012). "Gorogoa is a completely hand-drawn puzzler of Magritte-esque surrealism". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  14. ^ Green, Holly (27 December 2017). "On the Byzantine Art of Gorogoa". Paste. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  15. ^ a b Warr, Philippa (23 December 2013). "Gorogoa first look: a charming and beautiful illustrative puzzle game". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  16. ^ Allin, Jack (11 October 2012). "Demo for Gorogoa opens window into unique new puzzler". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  17. ^ Lumb, David (4 December 2017). "Long-awaited indie 'Gorogoa' arrives on iOS and PC December 14th". Engadget. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  18. ^ Walker, John (11 March 2014). "IGF Factor 2014: Gorogoa". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
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  27. ^ Hilliard, Kyle (12 December 2017). "Gorogoa At Least It's Short". Game Informer. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  28. ^ Valentin, Christian (19 December 2017). "Gorogoa review - A gorgeous masterpiece of a puzzle game". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  29. ^ Andriessen, CJ. "Review: Gorogoa". Destructoid. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  30. ^ Craddock, Ryan (18 December 2017). "Gorogoa Review (Switch eShop)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
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  32. ^ Conditt, Jessica (11 October 2013). "IndieCade 2012 winners get their crowns, IndieCade East in 2013". Engadget (Joystiq). Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  33. ^ Conditt, Jessica (19 November 2013). "Good Game Club picks hand-drawn puzzler Gorogoa for top prize". Engadget (Joystiq). Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  34. ^ a b c Machkovech, Sam (12 December 2017). "Gorogoa review: Beneath four panels hide gaming's most beautiful surprise". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  35. ^ a b c Warr, Philippa (14 December 2017). "Gorogoa Review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  36. ^ Webster, Andrew (14 December 2017). "This soothing, intricate puzzle game will make you feel like a genius". The Verge. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  37. ^ Chan, Stephanie (13 December 2017). "Gorogoa review — a brief but beautiful foray into an otherworldly mystery". VentureBeat. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  38. ^ Kershaw, Rob. "Jump Dash Roll | Gorogoa Review". Jump Dash Roll. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  39. ^ Eurogamer staff (26 December 2017). "Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2017: 50-41". Eurogamer. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  40. ^ Polygon staff (18 December 2017). "The 50 best games of 2017". Polygon. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  41. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Mobile Game". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Puzzle Game". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  43. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Most Innovative". IGN. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  44. ^ Gamasutra staff (5 January 2018). "Breath of the Wild & Horizon Zero Dawn lead GDC 2018 Choice Awards nominees!". Gamasutra. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  45. ^ Makuch, Eddie (21 March 2018). "Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Wins Another Game Of The Year Award". GameSpot. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  46. ^ McNeill, Andrew (31 January 2018). "Here Are Your 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards Finalists!". SXSW. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  47. ^ IGN Studios (17 March 2018). "2018 SXSW Gaming Awards Winners Revealed". IGN. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  48. ^ Makuch, Eddie (14 January 2018). "Game Of The Year Nominees Announced For DICE Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  49. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 9 February 2018. Archived from the original on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  50. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 13 March 2018. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  51. ^ deAlessandri, Marie (15 March 2018). "Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice at forefront of BAFTA Games Awards nominations". MCV. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  52. ^ Makedonski, Brett (12 April 2018). "BAFTA names What Remains of Edith Finch its best game of 2017". Destructoid. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  53. ^ Hoggins, Tom (24 September 2018). "Golden Joysticks 2018 nominees announced, voting open now". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  54. ^ Sheridan, Connor (16 November 2018). "Golden Joystick Awards 2018 winners: God of War wins big but Fortnite gets Victory Royale". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  55. ^ "The 100 best games of the decade (2010–2019): 100–51". Polygon. November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 9, 2019.

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