Gomo (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, December 23, 2013

Gomo is the first game from Slovakian developer Fishcow Studio, and when Daedalic Entertainment announced they were publishing the title a few weeks back it caught my eye with its hand drawn art and quirky designs. Machinarium instantly came to mind when watching the trailer for the game, as there was the same emphasis on a dialogue free experience where the story was told through actions and thought bubbles. It’s relatively cheap at $7.99, but does that price point make it worth checking out if you’re a fan of adventure games?

The storyline in Gomo is fairly simple, as it opens with our hero waking up to discover that his dog/best friend has been kidnapped by an alien. After seeing some demands made by the alien in the form of a thought bubble (he wants a crystal or something in exchange), Gomo embarks on a journey to try and save his dog. That quick synopsis is the bulk of the story, as the majority of the game is spent on exploring the world and getting to the alien’s planet. What players will notice right from the start is that Fishcow has a quirky sense of humor and this gives the title a considerable amount of charm. Gomo resembles a Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet to an extent, only he looks a bit more off-kilter. There are plenty of moments throughout the game that made me laugh, as typically he tries to dive headfirst into an obstacle and this leads to things like getting electrocuted and thrown across the screen by robots. Fishcow has also thrown in some neat little touches that add to the lighthearted feel, as there’s a scene early in the game where if you click on a painting on the wall Gomo will scribble a mustache on it. A lot of attention to detail has been put into the world itself, and in my attempts to guide Gomo to the alien and save his dog it was always interesting to see what each new screen would bring.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with this game is that for all the attention to detail and amusing/quirky sequences it presents the player with everything is over far too quickly. I played through on the normal difficulty (there is an easy option available) and beat the game in about an hour and a half. Depending on how long it takes you to complete some of the more in-depth puzzles this could be stretched out to two hours, but it feels like the game ends far too abruptly. Fishcow has included three bonus mini-games for players that find secret items in the game, but they aren’t anything that would add a whole lot of replay value. The reason that this short length was so disappointing was because it left the experience feeling far too shallow, as the developers created this engaging world and likeable character but let the story play out just a bit too predictably. There are a couple of sequences that hinted at much bigger conflicts aside from Gomo simply rescuing his dog, but they were only passing bits and were never developed further.

Rather than letting you click anywhere on the screen to move the character to a location, the game relies entirely on hotspots. This means that to move Gomo left or right you must find the location on the screen that changes the cursor to a left or right arrow. At first it seemed like limiting the movement and interactivity in this manner was a good thing, as it meant you could immediately identify the hotspots and not waste too much time moving aimlessly across each screen. However, there were some hard to see hotspots towards the end of the game that made this setup a bit frustrating, and the implementation felt a bit inconsistent as a result. As for the puzzles, quite a few of them consist of clicking things in the right order or combining items in a certain way, but there were some that were more in-depth and required the player to mess around with sliders. Compared to many of the other adventure titles I have played over the years Gomo did feel a bit easy, but this wasn’t a bad thing as that meant there were no nonsensical solutions or completely progress halting puzzles. The slightly easier gameplay also makes the title suitable for just about any age, and I could see some younger players getting into the adventure genre through a game like this one.

While the gameplay is certainly enjoyable, the graphics and sound are the elements of Gomo that really made the title stand out in my mind. Fishcow’s hand drawn animation looks great and everything looks fluid, particularly all the little details that are on each screen. Even something trivial like picking up a new item stands out, as Gomo unzips his backside and puts the item inside of himself. These little touches help to give the game character, and I was always excited to see what each situation would bring. The graphical design is interesting, as it mixes some alien and dreamlike elements with an otherwise ordinary looking world and this combination made the game continually eye catching. As for the sound, both the sound effects and background music go for a quirkier feel that fits perfectly with the visual design. Music isn’t always an area of video games that I pay a good deal of attention to, as I’m typically focused on solving a puzzle or what I need to do to progress rather than actively listening to the track that is playing, but Gomo had a few pieces that had me stop and listen for a bit before moving on. Presentation is clearly an area where Fishcow excels, and if they could keep the high quality animation and sound but make a slightly longer game I think they’d have even more success.

$7.99 for an hour and a half of entertainment really doesn’t seem that bad to me, but some gamers may feel otherwise. I really enjoyed the time I spent with Gomo and it had a quirky sense of humor that made many of the puzzles and scenarios really fun to play and complete. However, I think because the lead character is so likeable and the attention to detail draws you into the world it’s that much more disappointing that the final experience seems so shallow and seems to end without fully realizing some of the ideas it hints at. I’m glad that Daedalic picked this one up and gave it a chance to find an audience though, and even though it doesn’t seem likely that Gomo will stand as one of the best titles in the adventure genre to come out this year it’s a solid first effort from a small studio and is worth playing if you really enjoy these types of games. I’d like to see Fishcow keep using hand drawn animation and lighthearted, quirky humor but be slightly more ambitious in scope, because if they can accomplish this I could see them becoming as recognized as Amanita Design or some of the other indie developers in the genre.

PC System Requirements

Minimum:
o OS: Windows XP or later
o Processor: 1.6 GHZ Processor
o Memory: 1 GB RAM
o Hard Drive: 300 MB available space

Mac System Requirements

Minimum:
o OS: Snow Leopard or later
o Processor: Intel Mac
o Memory: 1 GB RAM
o Hard Drive: 300 MB available space

http://store.steampowered.com/app/265330/?snr=1_7_15__13
http://www.gog.com/game/gomo
http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-GOMO/gomo
http://playgomo.com/
Gomo on Green Man Gaming

The Good

+ Charming art style and likeable lead character.

+ Lighthearted, humorous situations engage the player.

+ Puzzles are fair and never seem too confusing or nonsensical.

+ Music and sound effects perfectly fit the tone of the game.


The Bad

- Game ends far too abruptly.

- Plot hints at bigger things but doesn't do anything with them.

- Occasional hotspot issues.

Verdict7

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