I few days ago, I told you that Nongünz, a game developed by Brainwash Gang and published by Sindiecate Arts that revels in retro-carnage, is being released on PC, Mac and Linux on the 19th May. Well, we at Zombie Chimp have got hold of a review copy and we got to put it through its paces before its release later this week.
I can only guess at the storyline, as the version I’m playing takes you straight into the gameplay. What I do I know is that the trailer above, well worth a look if you haven’t already, shows a skeletal mass murderer slaughtering entire village of cute woodland animals. Judging by the look of the main character in the game this chap is you, so you’re not painted in a very good light. That is unless the entire village of woodland creatures were all mass murderers or something. In which case there would be a certain poetic justice to their end.
When you start to play the game, you start a brief tutorial level by escaping a castle and graveyard and then jump straight into the pre-generated dungeons, which are filled with bizarre creations, made from the corpses of, I guess the animals that were slaughtered. So, yeah your guess is as good as mine on the story. I’m guessing it’s not too important anyway.
The main bulk of the game is a dungeon crawler shoot-em-up. Jump from ledge to ledge, avoiding spikes, and enemies, that is unless they can be vanquished with several bullets to their head. The purpose of the game is to amass as many points as you can, in the most bulletridden-ly skillful way you can manage. The more skillful you play the more points you earn, and more points in this case definitely means more prizes.
At the back of all this game there’s a sort of idle game if you will. You recruit your own worthy band of tortured souls and undead ne’er-do-wells who will give you perks within the main part of the game.
So, you run the dungeons to collect points, and help these tortured souls which fuels the idle game. I.e. the more successful you are in-game the better you’ll be in the idle part of the game and vice versa of course.
Brainwash Gang, the developers have this to say…
“Nongünz aspires to seduce the player into a reflexion around the undeniable appeal of violence and the instincts behind accumulation of power and superiority. Hence its gritty black and white aesthetics; the omnipresence of flesh, bones and death; and the oppressing atmosphere of its dark environments and primal themes.”
Graphics & Sound
It pretty much depends on how much you like the retro look. Graphically Nongünz is incredibly retro. We’re talking near-monochrome graphics, and 8-bit sound. If you’re a graphics snob, then you’ll probably have been turned away already by the images on this review. If you’re old enough to remember when sound and graphics like this was the pinnacle of gaming visuals and effects, then you’ll be a little more warm-hearted towards them.
I’ve not tried playing Nongünz with a keyboard but this is probably a game that deserves controller treatment anyway. It’s a mixed bag. The basic controls are pretty easy to master, Jump, shoot and D-pad movement etc. There are a few two-button jump combinations that are a little tricky to use almost to the point of frustration. Both of which involve you pushing one button to slide or roll and then pushing jump that increases your jump height or distance. Unfortunately, you’re likely to need these jumps to traverse at least some parts of the randomly-generated dungeons, so best get used to them.
In short, because the dungeon crawling part of Nongünz fuels the idle section (and vice versa) and at least in theory, there should be no end to the amount of times you can play it with near limitless progression, I think the real question is whether you’d actually want to.
The visuals are certainly eye-catching, and because (in the most part at least) the controls are simple there’s nothing that’s really going to make it too annoying to replay, but the push to keep playing is basically as long as your patience is to keep doing the same things over and over and over again.
For me, things started to get a little tedious with Nongünz after an hour or so, but my ADD is probably more at fault than the game itself. Your patience may stretch it much further.