Don’t let the cute design or simplicity fool you, GoNNER is a hard game. GoNNER is a roguelike 2D platformer with procedurally-generated levels which means you’re gonna have your work cut out for you reaching the goal of each stage.
You play as a small blob equipped with a skull, gun, and a backpack. Each level you start by exiting a giant snake creature and end each level getting eaten by a giant snake creature. Between you and each snake creature is an army of demonic looking things that you can either eliminate or avoid. Each level will get progressively harder with the inclusion of more enemies, as well as more difficult terrain to traverse.
When you first start GoNNER you are tossed into a quick tutorial where you control your jumpy little blob while he is followed by a friendly little whale. While in the tutorial area you quickly learn that you can bounce off other creatures, similar to Mario or Sonic, and double jump in order to reach higher locations. You could also just spend your time in the tutorial running from the whale out of fear that it might be trying to devour you. After you finish learning how to jump you will find a skull on the ground that will help you get ahead in life. Skulls allow you to survive a set amount of hits and provide you with a special ability. Each skull is unique in how many hit it allows you to take and what ability it provides. For example, a skull may allow for a triple jump or another might give additional fire power. The next part of the tutorial is a brief learning experience on wall clinging and wall jumping which immediately leads to finding a gun and using it to defeat anything that is red and/or demonic looking. Guns come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as finding a shotgun that will have less ammo but wider range of coverage or a laser that will pierce enemies. The last part of the tutorial you are introduced to the backpack which can do a number of things depending on which backpack you have equipped. One backpack may provide an ammo refill while another might allow for a high jump or rapid fire.
My journey through GoNNER isn’t as thrilling as I’d hoped. When I first began, I repeatedly misjudged my ability to cling to walls and constantly found myself using my double jump by mistake. This caused numerous incidents that led to death. This isn’t much of a problem in the first area of the game as death pits don’t exist til later. Once I got a feel for my abilities I found GoNNER to be a better experience, but still difficult. As I progressed further into the first area of the game I obtained new gear and immediately noticed problems. When I discovered my second weapon in the game, the shotgun, I realized weapons have varying degrees of knockback. Not only are there varying degrees of knockback, but for some weapons the knockback changes based on how much ammo is remaining, for example, the laser loses all of its knockback once you’re about halfway through your clip.
The most frustrating problem I encountered in my time with GoNNER was taking damage. Each skull only lets you take so many hits before a game over occurs but each hit will knock away your skull, gun, and backpack. If you fail to recover your skull and take any damage it is an instant death.Time and time again I would get hit and become unsure where I was tossed to and sometimes I would get thrown into another enemy without mercy. I honestly wish there were some invincibility frames to help ease the tension when you lose your skull, but instead I became well-acquainted with the game over screen.
Despite my frustration, I had trouble putting GoNNER down. It presents itself as a simple idea in terms of design and gameplay, but actually playing it is a mixture of rage quitting and “Git Gud”. I really want to finish this game and gather all the skulls, guns, and backpacks but sadly I am afraid I will break multiple Joycons and Switch consoles in the process. GoNNER is easily playable in both portable and docked mode for the Nintendo Switch. If you are looking for a quick, fun game to play, GoNNER might not be the game for you; but if you want a challenging experience then it might be the game you’ve been looking for on the Nintendo Switch.
Review Copy Provided By Raw Fury