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GONNER2 review for Xbox One, Switch


Platform: Xbox One
Also on: PC, Switch
Publisher: Raw Fury
Developer: Art in Heart
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

As if its name wasn’t a big enough hint (GONNER, goner — get it?), GONNER2 lays out what you should expect very early on: you don’t just press A to start the game, you “press jump to die.” Because if there’s one thing you’re going to do a lot of in GONNER2, it’s die. And die, and die, and die.

This is by design. It’s a tough-as-nails roguelike platformer, which means that not only is every level constantly trying to kill you, it’s basically changing every time you play it. Moreover, the game is designed so that the path to the exit doesn’t become visible until you get close to a wall, so while you’re shooting at the enemies coming at you from all sides, you’re essentially also trying to solve a maze.

Like I said: it’s tough-as-nails. And that’s without even getting into the way losing items leads to one-hit deaths.

It’s also without getting into the fact there are no tutorials or explanations here. You have to figure it all out on your own. On the one hand, I get that the game wanted to be as tough as possible. On the other hand, GONNER2 is already plenty hard, so I feel like even a brief introductory level where you learn the basics wouldn’t have taken anything away from the game.

Bizarrely, despite the toughness, what really sticks out in my mind when I think of GONNER2 isn’t the action, but rather how it looks. I’m pretty sure that “insane psychedelic fever dream” isn’t a genre or a style, but I can’t think of any other way to describe the visuals here. There are flying eyeballs and you enter new levels by being swallowed by worms and the colours are all over the rainbow and…it’s just craziness. It’s gorgeous, in its own way, but it’s still nuts to look at.

For most people, though, I think the insane difficulty will be what they take away from GONNER2, not the insane visuals. Which means that if you’re looking for a platformer or a roguelike that will truly test your abilities, it’s most certainly worth your time.

Raw Fury provided us with a GONNER2 Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: B