Game Review, Nintendo Switch, Review, Visual Novel

Gnosia – Nintendo Switch Game Review

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I have been playing Gnosia in my free time for the past 2 weeks. There might be some vague spoilers here. I will try to be vague as possible, but when reviewing a story driven game, it’s bound to have some spoilers. So be warned.

I am ashamed to say it took me over 160 loops to complete the game – and I didn’t know about the true ending until reading a guide for something else entirely – I got stuck on my last “loop” I couldn’t figure out how to get the last data I needed about Remnan. – If you’re stuck like I was, you have to defend him in the debate, talk to him before going to sleep, be lucky that he won’t die that night, or get picked for cold sleep the next morning, and then talk to him again. –

I dunno if what you pick to say matters or not. I tried all the possibilities. I don’t know why I was stuck here so long, but I was. I had literally unlocked everyone else’s 100% information. And I had figured out I had to defend Remnan in the debate, and seen his reactions to I like you, I trust you, I felt sorry for you. But somehow, either he never lived that night, or I dunno, anyways after much frustration I looked up a guide about Remnan and all it basically said was defend him in the debate, talk to him before bed, make sure he doesn’t die, talk to him after the next debate, and that seemed to work for me. He opened up about his past and why he loves machines. If you see that, you’re good.

Once you get all the crew’s information you see an ending – but not the true ending – on your next playthrough. To see the true ending you have to start a new game after seeing this first ending. – I used a different save slot – just in case. The guide I read said when you wake up to talk about fishing with Otome – well mine was different – and the guide didn’t tell me it could be different – so after day 2 or 3 of the “new game” – I read a different guide – I was supposed to tease Setsu for falling asleep during the movie. And thus triggered the true ending. – The true ending nicely ties everything up and leaves one feeling accomplished and satisfied. The fake ending isn’t nearly as interesting.

Alright, how can a game be this repetitive and this boring… but yet… at the same time… this game is also so addicting? I couldn’t put it down. Every free second I had I was playing this. I even dreamt about it once. Basically, it’s so darn repetitive. Sometimes you go 10-20 loops without making progress – but gradually – bit by bit – you begin to learn about all of the characters – and sometimes even care about the characters.

There were one or two scenes that I felt tears welling up… One was with Gina outside the ship, and another when hugging Sha-Ming before cold sleep. (I think that’s vague enough for people who haven’t played, and those who have played will know what I mean.)

The game twists and turns and characters are good/evil – or chaotic neutral, in the case of the bug, and play different roles from Gnosia (the bad guys), Crew (the good guys), Doctors who can inspect dead bodies, Engineers who can inspect living bodies, Bugs as mentioned who just want to cause chaos, or the bug and bad guys can falsely claim to be any of those roles – there’s also a guardian angel who can protect one player each night.

The gameplay consists of the following “sequences”:

Debate: here you and the others will give reports or make wild accusations about who should or should not be trusted. At the end of the debate, you all will vote for who gets put into cold sleep. If it is a tie you will vote again. If a 2nd Tie occurs either everyone or no one will be put to sleep.

Exploration: After the debate, before going to sleep (not cold sleep, just regular sleep) you can visit one location. Try to look for red exclamation marks to trigger events to unlock crew information needed to finally break the loop. You won’t always see any red exclamations, so you can just do whatever

Go back to your room: here you can sleep, or level up, and spend skill points. Skills make it easier for you to progress through the game either by making you less of a target or helping you sleuth out liars.

Sleep: Go to sleep to start back over from the debate phase on the next day. While you’re asleep, someone will die, unless the guardian angel protects them that is.

Repeat ad nauseam.

I can’t tell you how long and monotonous and tedious this game is…

But yet… I kept playing – why???… I dunno….. Gnosia has a special Je ne sai quoi – I dunno that little something… indescribable… that drives you to keep playing.

It’s not because of it being “fun” and it’s not “caring about the characters or story”… It’s maybe sheer determination and will… especially once you’re so far in – 100 loops – each taking at least 10-15 minutes… past that 15 hour mark… and further… you’re like I’ve come this far… I might as well finish it.

That’s not to say that Gnosia isn’t fun, or that I didn’t care about the characters… but not enough to explain how I managed to play it for 150+ loops… until I was ready to bang my head against the wall in frustration – I think 30-40 of those loops were me trying to get the last info from Remnan. lol.

I have thousands of games – this isn’t an exaggeration or expression – I literally have over 1,000 games on steam alone – plus all my retro games – current brand new games I haven’t even played – have either digital or physical copies of games, installed but never played or unopened, or played for a day and left untouched. And I enjoy replaying my old favorite games again and again – so I had PLENTY of other things to do… Plus I work – and just got married and just bought a house and have a hundred other things to do besides gaming… going to Disney World in 2 more days for my honeymoon… have other hobbies and interests – and I gotta sleep sometime too….

So I can’t explain it… why I kept playing Gnosia… it was like a drug – an addiction. I had to finish it… but why? I don’t know… I’ve walked away from hundreds of much better games than this, leaving them unfinished… but Gnosia held my attention far longer than those “better games”… To me, that says something… I dunno what it says… but something… maybe something like…. Gnosia is fun… or Gnosia is interesting… or Gnosia is challenging…. all of which would be true.

Gnosia is interesting and not interesting at the same time, and fun and not fun at the same time… the challenge is tedious… but yet, that challenge is probably ultimately what makes the game addicting and fun. As the game says, Ad astra per aspera – “To the stars through difficulty”.

If you stick with it, you do learn about the characters… and everything gets tied up at the end… almost… I feel like there’s still possibly room for a sequel – because there is one character that even the true ending never fully explains – and that is Yuriko. The regular ending says no one knows what happened to her. And it hints at if another adventure awaits – but I assumed (after learning about the true ending) the hints were pointing at that… but now that I think about it… the true ending doesn’t mention Yuriko at all. The true ending is focused on SQ and Setsu.

There very well could be a sequel to this game at some point. Although I wasn’t aware of it, and purchased it while it was on sale, and because I like Playism’s other games, apparently our dear Gnosia has a very large fanbase and is quite popular for a little indie game. It first appeared as a PS Vita game (In Japanese only) back in 2019. Since then it’s been released on multiple platforms including Steam and Nintendo Switch – and now is obviously in English.

I do like one thing in the “regular” ending – it says Kukrushka smiles seemingly knowing everything already. – When you go back for the True ending – you’ll find out why. This also explains why there were 2 of them on some loops – and the Kukrushka “incident”.

In the “regular” ending, you get to see what happens to everyone after closing the loop. Do they achieve their dreams? Return to their home planet? Fall in love? Make new friends – or just disappear – or die even?

And because you experience the loops in a different order than everyone else, it’s safe to say, the Kukrushka from this “regular ending” is the same Kukrushka from the “true ending” even though you as a player haven’t met “that Kukrushka” yet.

Because of the way it ties everything together – well almost everything – except for Yuriko – the true ending is very rewarding. The true ending – and honestly a lot of this game in and of itself – reminded me a bit of Ever 17 – my favorite visual novel. Both deal with time travel and time loops and amnesia. Check one out if you’ve enjoyed the other one. Ever17 is still vastly supperior to Gnosia though.

Alright so… here’s how I’d rate Gnosia on a number scale:

Geeky: 3/5 – gameplay lacking, but story about time travel, pretty geeky right?

Sweetie: 2/5 – ehhh not the most emotional story and a little slow… but you can play as a female – although you’ll be a lesbian female – but it’s OK lol – they could have rewritten some of the dialogue when playing as a girl to make it less romantic and more friendshipy. But whatever, playing as a male or a lesbian girl is still fine. I’m just saying, if you’re gonna have an option to play as a girl, why not explore that option – like in the Persona games, you can date the male characters and have friendships with the females instead. Would make more sense. – Oh you can also identify yourself as non-binary – so some people might see that as a plus for inclusivity? But ultimately, from what I saw, it doesn’t effect the story or dialouge which gender you play as, so not even sure why this is an option really lol. I don’t have anything against lesbian relationships in videogames. Two of my favorite games explore this topic pretty deeply – Lesbian/Trans whatever – Life is Strange – and Tell Me Why.

Overall: 5/10 – Overall, solid 5… it’s not great, it’s not terrible… it’s a mediocre game that is inexplicably addicting.

Gameplay: 3/10 – Really tedious – too many loops OMG – I started dreaming about this game I played it so much. Not enough differences happen between some loops. Sometimes you loop 20 times before progressing anywhere. Really not sure why I played this for so long. Gameplay similar to Danganronpa in a lot of ways. But Danganronpa is way less tedious than this.

Story: 8/10 – Pretty good – once you progress far enough – if you stick with it long enough. Unraveling the mystery is the one thing this game has going for it.

Characters: 8/10 – I liked the characters quite a bit, and slowly learning about them, and seeing different “versions” of them “past, present, future, and alternate realitys / other dimensions” – pretty interesting concept. Time travel always tickles my fancy. Some characters are funny, others kind and caring, and others just completely crazy lol.

Graphics: 6/10 – The hand-drawn style is… interesting? I guess? Not my cup of tea really, but there are some pretty scenes. Reuses a lot of character sprites and backgrounds ad nauseam. The characters feel stiff – I’d like to see a move away from this art style and rely more on Live2D like School Days, Catherine and other games to make characters feel more lively. Character designs were good though honestly. There’s a lot of variation. Their facial expressions convey a lot of emotion. So good job there.

Music: 5/10 – Not enough variation. Simple, subtle background atmospheric music. This will do.

No voiceacting so N/A there.

Replay Value: 10/10 – I dunno why, this game’s sum is greater than its parts individually. It rates relatively low in all my catagories, but yet…. I played it almost 160 times!!!!!!!! CRAZY. lol. If that’s not replay value, then what is? And there’s the hidden true ending after unlocking the first ending – so yeah, replay value is sky high. But after getting both regular ending and true ending – never again will I play this lol. 160 times is enough for me!

Final Score: 47/80 – 59% – which on my scoring system is an “F” lol. Sorry 🙁 – I “like” it more than an “F” but when I break it down, I can’t explain WHY I like it. I know I do like it – It doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t put my finger on why exactly I played this game 160 times – and even though an “F” would usually be a game I don’t recommend. I do recommend that you check this one out – especially if it’s on sale. I got it super cheap a few weeks ago. And for what I paid, I’d definitely recommend buying it. For some reason it’s going for over $100 on Ebay – don’t pay that lol. You can get the digital one dirt cheap. I seriously think I paid like $5 a few weeks ago when it was on sale. There’s no way this game is worth $100. That’s crazy – It must have had a limited physical release. The game’s not fun enough to be worth $100, nor even $50. I wouldn’t pay over about $16 for this one.