Most of the time, you won’t really know what’s going on in GNOG. But that’s kind of the point of this Montréal-made tactile game that’s full of hidden surprises.
In the opening moments, you’re faced with a giant turquoise robot frog’s head. So you poke and swipe around to see where it takes you: Get it right and hidden panels and doors will open to reveal new playthings, switches, dials, and levers. Get to the end of the puzzle, and you’ll be treated to a little song, because… well, why not?
It’s a joy to interact with all this stuff. There are nine of these oddball robot heads to play with, which are structured as puzzles within puzzles within puzzles. And each of them is brought to life so vividly—everything you think will react to your touch usually does.
The sound design emphasizes this brilliantly, too. Every interaction has a satisfying chime, clunk, or whir. The cheery electronica that underpins your play builds to tell you that you’re heading in the right direction; drums, synths, and other quirky layers of sound are layered on top of each other until you reach the level’s end.
There’s also a neat augmented reality mode tucked away in GNOG; it makes all of these bizarre puzzles materialize right in front of you through the lens of your iPhone or iPad.
This game was in development for years, and it shows: These disembodied playthings really feel alive, and it’s because of all the fun little graphical details and sound cues. Developer Ko-op Mode has created a series of colourful puzzle boxes packed with peculiar ideas; there are surprises with every tap and swipe in GNOG, and it’s a joy to behold.