1st November 2007

Gish – Game Review

posted by Doomzilla in Games, Reviews, Software |

You are out spending the day with your girlfriend when suddenly an evildoer grabs her and drags her into the sewers. You jump in after her and that’s where Gish begins. Pulling a plot from similar games you played at the dawn of household console systems may seem clichĂ©, but Gish is anything but that. Just reading Chronic Logic’s own description of the game can give you a small hint at how strange (and original) the game is.

” With his gelatinous structure as his only means of defense Gish must follow the echoing cries of his damsel in distress deep into the earth below. What freakish creatures dwell in this subterranean land? Who is Brea’s captor? And just how far down does the rabbit hole go? Life isn’t easy when you’re a 12 pound ball of tar…”

Gish Random

The basic premise of Gish is that you are a ball of tar with three essential abilities. You can make yourself slippery to slide through tight spaces, grow hooks to be able to latch onto objects and walls for scaling, and also harden your body for breaking walls and squashing enemies. Of course, depending on the terrain and the enemy, your abilities will be called on in various combos. I can say right now that Gish is probably the least traditional platform game you will ever play.

Gish Screenie 1

Everything in the game is effected by physics. Gish, being a ball of tar, is effected the most. He can squish down due to gravity and spring back up with his natural elasticity. When using the hooks to hold onto the walls and ceilings you can sense the weight shifting in the little black ball of goop. Gish can take some far falls due to his blob-like physique, but if he falls too far he does squish down and take some damage from being spread too thin.

Gish Play Room

In addition to a ball of tar being the hero, the overall setting of the game is interesting as well. The enemy design is very creative especially with some of the larger enemies that you encounter later in the game. I won’t go into details, but watching some enemies “spawn” out of other enemies almost made me squirm in a fit of laughter because of the pure absurdity of the design. All the levels have great textures and lighting that you wouldn’t expect in a two dimensional platform game. Rocky walls appear to have real texture to them and the lighting is real time, not just some lame pre-rendered blob of light on the wall. There is plenty of variety in the levels that you never feel like you are doing the same thing level after level. Where one level might require you to scale walls and jump incredible heights, the next might have you swimming and crawling through tight spaces while trying not to get bitten by an enemy.

Gish Screenie 2

On top of the great level and character designs lies one of the best soundtracks I have heard in a platform game. The original music is both upbeat and tense which gives the game an added layer of complexity while you play it. The only part of the game I think could have been improved are some of the sound effects. Some of the squishing sounds sound a bit light. Maybe it was just my on-board sound card, but I was hoping the sound made when squishing an enemy would be a little more over the top and campy like an old horror B-movie. Though, I must admit they have the best sound in any video game for notifying you that you have discovered a secret. There is this chill that you get when you find that secret stash of gold coins and an ethereal voice whispers “secret” as if you’ve awaken it from the grave. This is not a direct complaint, but it should be noted that all the dialogue is told through captions where the story advances or where Gish meets bosses. I think it is appropriate that there are no voices since it is an indie game, but part of me did wonder what the voice of a 12 lb. ball of tar would sound like. My guess is that it would sound like the Tick drowning on used motor oil.

After you are done playing the main 34-level campaign you can go on to some sandbox playtime in the Play Room or challenge a friend in a handful of versus games like Sumo or drag racing. With the different gameplay modes, this game should give anyone quite a bit of enjoyment. There is a bit of blood when squishing the smaller enemies that might not be appropriate for very young gamers. Though, no matter who you are, the great creative design, music, and puzzles should keep you entertained for hours. The physics and style alone are well worth the entry price of this indie gem. In a world of 3D shooters and MMORPGs, its a real treat to see “something else” pop up with this much quality and originality. I’m crossing my fingers for the same development team to make a Gish 2 or maybe even change it up with a modern day remake of “A Boy and his Blob”. For more info about Gish or to purchase it, just head on over to Chronic Logic’s website.
Pros:

  • Original concept and character design
  • Great soundtrack
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Extra Modes for added gameplay

Cons:

  • Some sound effects seem a bit weak
  • Music can get a bit repetitive

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