App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Gorogoa is a puzzle game that messes with your head. By using perspective and the same, frame-shifting gameplay as FRAMED, it makes for an experience that is both inventive and mind-boggling. Its puzzles are tough, but their solutions do a great job of following an internal logic and make you feel like a genius having a breakthrough whenever you solve them. This makes Gorogoa one of the most rewarding puzzle games on the App Store and an absolute must-play.
A puzzling quest
In Gorogoa, you play as a boy on his quest to recover five colorful orbs that relate in some way to a mythical flying fish. The story here isn’t exactly made explicit, but it plays out through solving puzzles by sliding and tapping around four different frames of a scene that fit neatly in a 2x2 grid.
Sometimes, you may have to re-order these scenes to make certain frames connect, a lot like the noir puzzle adventure FRAMED, but more often, there’s a lot more to it. You can tap around in frames to change the focus of the scene being displayed. You can also add or remove some layers of frames from existing ones to create new scenes to work from.
With all of these options for puzzle-solving, Gorogoa sounds like it might be pretty overwhelming. Some fantastic art direction keeps that from becoming the case though. Almost every frame in the game is not only beautiful, but also layered with meaning. A lot of the time, a hint toward your next step forward in the game is hiding somewhere in the artwork, just waiting to be found.
Also, if you ever get stuck, Gorogoa lets you tap anywhere out of frame to highlight points of interactivity within frames to change your focus. This system doesn’t ever go so far as to tell what you’re supposed to do to solve a puzzle, but it can provide that little nudge you need to figure out what to do next.
Gorogoa’s main strength is that its puzzle-solving follows a simple logic that is cleverly used to create tough, but satisfying, puzzles. From the very beginning of the game, some very clear rules get established about what is possible by moving frames, shifting focus, and removing or adding layers, and these mechanics get rearranged in really interesting ways throughout the experience.
It also helps that Gorogoa’s frame-manipulating mechanics don’t ever depend so much on timing or getting a sequence right that you have to rely on trial and error. There are times where you might figure out a step of a puzzle that you can’t fully complete yet because you haven’t done something else first, but there’s almost always a useful visual hint clueing you into this fact, which keeps you from ever truly feeling stuck or left wanting to consult a walkthrough.
The bottom line
Gorogoa is a fantastic puzzle game. Its mechanics are simple, but they get used in immensely creative ways and intertwine seamlessly with some gorgeous artwork and intriguing storytelling. If you’re looking for your next new favorite puzzle adventure on mobile, this is it.