Let’s get one thing out of the way really quickly: Gonner is a strange-looking game. It’s got a fluid, simplistic art style that looks like something out of a fever dream and vivid colors. The floor and wall are invisible until you actually get into contact with them, and all the characters look like a demented four-year-old’s illustrations. The game has a very eerie feel overall, and there’s a lot of imagery that evokes a sense of death and darkness. But what of the game hiding underneath this strange, strange veneer?
Well, Gonner is for all intents and purposes a sidescrolling shooter. You begin as pretty much nothing, a blob of sorts, and eventually you literally pull yourself together. You get your head, you get a gun, and you get an organ. This three-piece set becomes your loadout. Now, I had to piece a lot of this together because, as I mentioned, the game literally keeps you in the dark to begin with. Eventually you get the hang of it and you start gunning down baddies. Now, the challenge in the game is twofold: First, there’s the classic roguelike challenge of finishing the game with one life. On top of that, there’s the added challenge of pulling yourself together every time you get hit. That’s right, every time you take a whacking, you need to collect your bits. As the game progresses, you collect new body parts that
As with most roguelike indie games, Gonner is tough as nails and fully intends to harm you grievously during your first couple playthroughs. Of course, the other thing it has in common with tough-as-nails roguelike indies is that you have tools to help you as you progress through the er, whatever it is you’re progressing through. To start with, every handful of kills nets you a purple rune. Get enough purple runes and you can buy a continue or pick up some items at one of the shops (including new guns and organs).
As far as games go, Gonner is perhaps a little too uneven in its difficulty. It can feel chaotic at times, especially with all the enemies milling around, but at other times you can make it through easily if you just keep firing and keep your distance. The boss fights are reasonably challenging, and the later levels can get ridiculous.
What saves the game, in my opinion is how chaotic the action can get. Despite its simplicity, Gonner does shooting really well, and it makes for an enjoyable sidescrolling shooter experience. As a roguelike, it’s somewhat shallow, although the different body parts do change up your playstyle quite a bit. Overall, it’s a solid but less-than-memorable entry in the very populous world of roguelikes.
Gonner was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Raw Fury. The game was tested a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Strange, unique visuals
• Simple, intuitive controls
• Variety of weapons and attachments
• Good shooting mechanics
• Level design feels too simplistic
• Roguelike elements are somewhat shallow
• Uneven difficulty