Gomorrah review
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Gomorrah review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on February 24th, 2023
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: MOB MANAGER
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This mobile tie-in game works well as a standalone crime drama adventure.

Developer: 34BigThings srl

Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone SE

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

I don't know anything about the Gomorrah tv show that this mobile game is based on. If the game is any indication, though, Gomorrah is stylish crime family drama that has some quality writing. There are some text formatting issues that can make it hard at times to fully parse what is happening in this game, but otherwise Gomorrah is an enjoyable text adventure with some nice art and light management mechanics.

Fated family

In Gomorrah, you play as Nina, the 18 year old daughter of the top organized crime lord in Naples. Without giving anything away, some things happen that put you in a position where you need to lead your own crew of mobsters as you set about trying to solve a mystery of sorts.

Given your age and relative inexperience with mob life, a lot of your moves get questioned and folks doubt your abilities while the game puts you to the test of deciding how Nina rises to the challenge. Some of this is done through dialog choices that make up the bulk of the game's seven chapters. There are also some interludes where you are placed in a light management sim and given choices on what kinds of jobs to give to certain crew members to make sure you maintain funding, respect, and power over your crew.

Graphic and novel

The moment-to-moment action of Gomorrah is basically everything you'd expect from a good crime family drama. There's a lot of subterfuge, backstabbing, and--of course--death. Similarly, the management portions of the game are pretty standard meter balancing exercises that mostly feel tedious and only slightly meaningful to how the overall story plays out.

That said I am quite impressed with the game's writing and art. There are clever turns of phrase and artistic flourishes that breathe life into the characters and reveal a lot about Nina and her relationships with her parents and others. It made entering every vignette something to look forward to, which is not something I can say about just any mobile text-based game.

A mob of text

Something else I appreciate about Gomorrah is how it divides its story into chapters that then get subdivided into individual stories of roughly the same length (a few minutes). It sounds like a really small touch, but knowing and having consistent and intentional breakpoints in a story is very helpful for a game that is so easy to break out and start playing just about anywhere.

I just wish that this kind of thoughtful structuring also went into the text formatting of Gomorrah. Every story is divided essentially into comic book-like panels with text and drawings that fill your screen without having to scroll that you tap a button to proceed through or make a choice about. While it is nice to not have to worry about a need to scroll, Gomorrah often formats dialog between different characters with no line breaks, which can make it difficult to figure out who is saying what without reading carefully or re-reading a block of text a couple of times to figure it out. This isn't a huge deal, but it can break any kind of natural reading flow and it's very easy to accidentally thumb past something which could pose a problem since there is no way to go back to read anything you may have missed.

The bottom line

I was not expecting to enjoy the story of a mobile game that ties into a universe I have no frame of reference this much. Gomorrah is a well told crime drama that is reasonably paced and enjoyable to make your way through, provided you can take your time to read through it carefully.

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