Steam Game Review – Gorogoa

Gorogoa is a visual puzzle and story game. Players help the main character on their quest to gather rainbow fruit to summon a dragon. Gameplay involves using objects like doors, picture frames, and thought bubbles to transition into parallel worlds and move objects between them.

Release Date: December 14th, 2017
Developer: Buried Signal
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Format: PC Game
First playthrough time: 1.5 hours

top left, boy stands with bowl in front of shrine. top right, old man with cane waits at bus stop littered with papers. bottom right, young man with cane climbs stairs, the clouds behind him have a hole shaped into them. bottom left, woman holds a flower to the sun, the shape of the flower and sun together match the hole in the prior image.

Gorogoa uses up to four quadrants to combine scenes

Major Pros:

  • Unique visual puzzles
  • Beautiful hand drawn art

Minor Pros:

  • Pleasing music
top left, red pressure dial. top right, blue compass needle. bottom right, diagram of a star and clock using red and blue hands. bottom left, young man asleep at a library desk with a globe in the foreground.

Puzzle involve combining elements from multiple scenes

Major Cons:

  • Length

Minor Cons:

  • Story was vague
young boy reading a book about a colorful dragon and people gathering five colors in a bowl as an offering to it

The story focuses on a boy trying to summon a dragon

Gorogoa uses a unique visual mechanic for its puzzles. Windows, frames, doorways, etc can be used as portals between scenes, allowing the two scenes to be separated and manipulated individually. Often these scenes are then recombined, such as to use a stylized flower as a gear when the rest is obscured by an overlayed piece. I found these visual puzzles very engaging as I moved around scenes searching for shapes that could be combined for new meaning.

top left, grey circular photo frame. top right, passage of text with a bloody red symbol at the top. center, one scene is being lifted up and dragged atop the others. It's a scene of a young man injured and in a wheel chair. His thought bubble is empty and the other scenes can be viewed through the hole. If lined up over the top right image, the bloody symbol would perfectly fit in his thought bubble.

Pieces are layered together to create meaning based on where holes are located

The story of Gorogoa is wordless, but vague. I typically enjoy wordless stories, but when they become difficult to follow I’m less impressed. The story seems to involve a boy who sees a dragon and goes on a quest to summon it using rainbow fruit. This doesn’t appear to have any relation to the traveling between parallel worlds. Clearly thought went into it though, because players see the character across multiple points in his life and the time differences tie into the narrative. I just wish I knew what it was trying to say.

top left, a young boy is standing in a black and white photo. a small scrap of map with an arrow on it points to another black and white photo with a door. top right, this piece is of a map and is being lifted and dragged toward the center. bottom right, a man in a library. bottom left, a man looking out a window.

Some pieces change when they are dragged, like they’re viewports into larger images

All the art of Gorogoa is hand drawn with beautiful colors and simple animations. I loved the style of the art and how it was able to maintain consistency across locations both real and symbolic. The art was key to being able to create the visual puzzles in the game. The music was also very pleasant and matched the colorful yet peaceful atmosphere of many of the scenes.

top left, ornate green dragon eye. top right, statue holding a colorless apple over a bowl. bottom right, two towers with stairs between them. bottom left, a diagram showing a man going from a desert into a garden and receiving a green apple from a statue. an eye is drawn over the apple in the diagram.

Gorogoa uses colors and symbolism to give hints

It took me about an hour to complete Gorogoa, with about 15-30 minutes more to run through the original demo included after beating the game. For using such a unique mechanic, I wanted the game to continue on and build to more interesting interactions between the worlds.

top left, a single golden ring floating in space. top right, a pair of rusty pliers in a workshop. bottom half, two panels are merged to show colorful masked men with feater hats carrying the young boy in a palanquin.

The original demo has slightly lower resolution, but follows an alternate story

Overall I found Gorogoa to be a beautiful and interesting visual puzzle game. I enjoyed the unique mechanics of creating interactions between multiple worlds. While I found the story vague and the overall length somewhat short, I definitely enjoyed my time with it. I would recommend Gorogoa to players interested in the visual puzzle aspect of the game that don’t mind the shorter playtime and unclear story.

Find this game at the publisher’s website or on Steam.

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