GoNNER is hard. There’s no denying that. Originally released late last year on PC and Mac, today marks the launch of the official Switch port from Raw Fury Games and developer Art in Heart. A roguelike through and through, GoNNER’s creepy but endearing aesthetic lends itself to the difficult but addictive journey main character Ikk is thrust into. If you’re looking for a game that screams “one more go”, or if you love the recent swarm of roguelikes we’re seeing, GoNNER belongs on your Nintendo Switch. This is our GoNNER Switch review.
You begin life in GoNNER as a headless blob. You soon find yourself a head, a weapon, and a backpack. You have a large land-bound whale friend named Sally, but in order to be with her you must travel across harsh and dangerous worlds. You’ll die. A lot. But if you make it through the world, you get to visit Sally, and she’ll upgrade your items for you. This only happens after two of the game’s several worlds.
But that’s OK because Death will let you pick from your ever-growing cast of weapons, heads, and backpacks and get right back into the fray. Each room of each level is procedurally generated – layouts, enemies, and items are all random each time. The weapons, heads, and backpacks you pick each have different ups and downs – one head might give you more health while another might make you immune to explosions. One gun might shoot rapid fire weak bullets, while another is like a spread of shotgun shells. One backpack might let you reload bullets instantly (it’s my favorite) while another might let you create a circle of explosions that can damage Ikk and enemies alike (unless you have the immune to explosion head).
The trick of GoNNER is learning what items do what because there’s no explanation or tooltips in the game. It’s all a test of your ingenuity and discovery. Or you can go on Steam and look up the guide… if you’re a weakling. Bosses are not procedural, but they’re hard as heck. There may only be 4 worlds, but I’m betting you won’t be beating them all anytime soon. GoNNER isn’t a long game, but its difficulty turns it into an arduous adventure.
Shooting, dodging, clinging to walls, and making it through each world without dying is no small feat. Like The Binding of Isaac, GoNNER is a game about trying and re-trying to succeed. It’s not frustrating or hard in a way that’s off-putting. Rather, like the best roguelikes, it begs you to try again. You feel like you failed Ikk when he dies, not that the game was cheap or punishing. For $10, you could do a whole lot worse on the Switch. And if you like hard, side-scrolling action games – this is a no brainer.
Note: Our copy of GoNNER was provided by Raw Fury for review purposes.