Gomo Review

What would you do to save your friend? That is the question asked in Gomo, where a greedy alien kidnaps your dog and demands that you retrieve a mystical crystal artifact within two hours, or else. What this mysterious red crystal does, I never found out. All I know is that it is imbued with some sort of power. But that doesn’t matter; some extraterrestrial jerk has your dog, and that makes things personal.

The game stars Gomo, a stubby-legged, long-armed sack boy, in a 2D point-and-click adventure that takes him from his small home in the hillside to underground caverns, grassy fields, and even beyond the world itself. You move through the world by solving puzzles as they appear. Puzzles are straightforward and are not difficult to solve. It’s doubtful you will ever remain stumped in Gomo. Most puzzles require you to find an item–usually stored inside Gomo’s sack-like body via a zipper on his back–and combine it with another, such as unlocking a nearby door with a key only a short distance away, or pulling a lever to activate a switch. Most items used to solve puzzles are tossed aside after their usefulness is spent.

The puzzles are uninspired, and several don’t even make logical sense. For example, one puzzle has you shear a sheep to reveal a passcode to a door, while another has a picture which drops a can of herbicide. One puzzle is directly lifted from BioShock’s hacking minigame, and two others are those slide puzzles that bitter people give children on Halloween instead of candy. You can deactivate easy mode in the menu, but all that does is remove the ethereal glow around items when you hover over objects you can interact with, which turns the game into a basic click hunt. The puzzle sequences at the end are just momentary pauses in what is otherwise a simple game. I would say a straightforward game, but Gomo is anything but.

The alien in the introduction sequence gives Gomo a command to find a shiny red crystal in exchange for his dog. But there isn’t much of a clear path, and Gomo just meanders forward, flipping switches and using machines to open doors as he passes. He rides mine carts and uses the crystal (once found) to activate a hamster-powered device; he rides in a hot-air balloon, and, apparently, nukes the future. I’ll admit I’m a little confused by that one.

Some puzzles are uninspired, taking ideas from elsewhere.

The protagonist himself, with misshapen eyes, and who scurries along on stubby legs while using his long arms to lift himself onto steps, is adorable. His hand-drawn world is rife with little details that make each scene interesting, unless you find yourself quickly growing tired of the game’s color palette, which is mostly varying shades of brown. The game is often humorous, tossing in some slapstick comedy as well as throwing in brief pop-culture references. You cannot make the game screen any larger than a small square surrounded by thick black borders, though that is perhaps a remnant of its history as a flash game. Beyond that complaint, Gomo the game isn’t all that bad; it’s just not very compelling.

The game is a short ride, and can easily be finished in a sitting. I cleared it in less than an hour and a half. You have the choice to play through it again and hunt down special pieces of paper that unlock three bonus minigames, but it wouldn’t be worth your time. They are basically Whac-A-Mole games except that you wallop the dognapping alien instead of rodents. Gomo is a short, stylistic adventure that has some interesting features, but ultimately its brevity and lack of challenge keep its charms from being lasting ones.

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