May 2, 2017

Illustrator and toy enthusiast Samuel Boucher, has partnered with indie developer KO_OP Games and Double Fine to produce probably the strangest title I’ve played on PlayStation VR yet. With a simple, striking and immensely likeable artstyle, simple point-and-click mechanics and a charming soundtrack, GNOG is less of a game and more of an interactive set of toyboxes.

GNOG seems to take inspiration from other interactive toybox titles that have come before, specifically reminiscent of Windosill and The Room trilogy. Every level is presented as a miniature world, contained within a mask-like box. With no clues or any hints given to you at the outset, you simply have to poke and prod the box using the on-screen cursor, trying to find interactive elements, and then testing them to see what they do. There’s knobs to turn, levers to push, and all of the boxes have their own cute interiors, filled with different themed elements.

The creativity behind each of these boxes, from nature-themed to submarine-themed, is really the game’s main selling point. It’s a pleasure to be continually surprised by the secrets each toybox has to hold, or what design the next one may have, that it’s very easy to binge-play the entire game in a single sitting. The attractive art style by Sam Boucher translates extremely well to the lower resolution of PlayStation VR. I should make it clear that VR absolutely isn’t necessary for the experience, but the stereoscopic 3D elements are very effective, often surrounding you with particles or other cute effects that give a great sense of depth.

Only a few minor issues really hold back the experience, at least on PlayStation 4, most of them relating to the controls. The on-screen cursor, while colourful, can sometimes be hard to discern from the background, and actually grabbing onto objects and manipulating them feels clumsy and imprecise using the analogue sticks. Dials are the worst in this regard, often being very difficult to get to turn in the right direction, or land on the precise position you want them to. It feels like this wouldn’t be an issue on a touchscreen, where the similar Windosill found a breath of new life as well.

The entire experience can be completed in less than two hours, and if you take your time to explore every box fully, then there’s not much reason for multiple playthroughs for adults. However, I do think this is an ideal title for children, whether it’s on PlayStation VR or one of the other platforms the game is being released on, as it’s got plenty of interactivity in each toybox with little jokes or cute Easter eggs. It actually reminds me somewhat of the Living Books series that was released on PCs in the 90’s – and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, quite the opposite.

However, the less I say or give away about the secrets and surprises of each of GNOG‘s puzzles the better. It’s a game that hinges on charm, surprise and character and it’s definitely got plenty of that in spades. The control issues can occasionally frustrate, and it is still a rather short experience, even if you take your time. That said, it’s definitely worth a look for those looking for family-friendly titles or something just a bit off the wall to experience on their PlayStation VR.


-Charming, simple artstyle
-Positive, cool soundtrack
-Rewarding to solve
-Ideal for kids


-Some issues with the controls
-Quite short

Overall Score: