Gomo has lost his beloved dog. It was stolen by an alien, who's demanding a specific item in exchange for the pet's safe return. Now he's got to travel across a strange, sometimes charming, sometimes creepy cartoon landscape to get him back.
Gomo's world is a sepia-toned dreamscape full of bizarre creatures and strange industrial complexes that contain astonishingly convoluted rock-crushing machinery. Although it's generally a friendly and endearing place, there's the occasional little splash of nightmare; a dog-sized spider crawls across a pipe above a sleeping worker, giant robots fight with tanks on a hillside and our hero is swallowed by a giant worm, and must escape from its insides like a tiny Jonah. It's never frightening, but there's a slight edge to the game's seemingly benign world which stops things from becoming too cutesy.
Gomo checks out the local aquarium
Our titular hero is a resident of this strange place. He's an oddly expressive little chap who looks a bit like a Weetabix with tiny arms and legs. Like everything else in the game he's drawn like a sketchbook doodle, but with his endearing animation and propensity for falling over, he radiates the requisite charm to keep you involved in this bizarre little tale. Waking up one day, he finds his treasured pet dog missing, stolen by an alien visitor who's demanding that you steal a mysterious red crystal for him in return. That's the whole story, really. I've no idea who I was stealing the crystal from in the first place, because the whole atmosphere is so dreamlike, it sort of didn't matter. I had to do it to get the dog back. So I did.
On the way to rescuing your canine pal you'll stumble through a variety of strange environments, many of them rich with incidental touches. Tiny figures scamper about in the distance, an owl hoots softly from its perch, or a distant shepherd vainly tries to gather his flock of sheep. Gomo might look deceptively simple, but there's plenty of thought and care evident in the construction of its cartoon world. You might not notice all these little details the first time around, but the fact that they're in there makes the world feel alive when you're not busy racing through the easy puzzles. Something will catch your eye and you'll find yourself chuckling. There's a faintly absurd sense of humour on display that recalls a Terry Gilliam cartoon brought to life.
I never found this lantern. I escaped this well by fumbling around blindly in the dark like Dennis Nedry
All of the puzzles you'll encounter are solved on one screen, with all the items and objects you need to interact with sitting somewhere right in front of you. This fits in with the game's simple, easy-to-play outlook. Younger and more inexperienced players will never feel those moments of sheer bafflement you get in more advanced adventure games. Well, most of the time they won't. A couple of later puzzles are only solved by seemingly irrelevant items with obnoxiously small hitboxes. Rather than working out a challenging but fair problem, you typically work out what to do by wiping your mouse cursor across the screen until it starts glowing.
These are exceptions rather than the rule, though. Gomo's basic mechanics and simple, charming puzzle solutions (such as motivating some lazy hamsters via a tempting carrot), are a nice introduction to anyone who's never played a point and click adventure before. It goes too far with this at points. There are a few too many areas which can be traversed by clicking on a couple of buttons, and seem to be there just to pad things out. There were also times when the main character's movement frustrated. Rather than full control, you can point Gomo to a few key areas on the map via arrow prompts that appear. Transitioning between these areas on the screen can be slow and annoying, especially when you're looking for the one piece of the environment you need to interact with.
Watching our hero get flung about the place is oddly charming
Events are soundtracked by a fairly unremarkable electronic score. Music isn't a key feature of Gomo, despite the lack of voice acting. It all sort of blends together, not helped by the frequent recycling of several pieces. Only one moment comes to mind, a quiet stop on a street bench with an escalating robotic conflict in the background, backed by a jaunty '40's pop number. More of these idiosyncratic moments would have been welcome. Character and environmental sound design is a lot better, with various bleeps, bloops and crashing sounds accompanying Gomo as he stumbles around the place, falling down ladders and getting stuck in lockers. He's a slapstick pro, that one.
This is not a lengthy title. All in, you’re looking at around an hour and a half of game here, which is admittedly not much, even for a budget title. That said, for a meagre price you’ll get a charming little world to explore, a cute story set in a dream-like cartoon episode that kids will enjoy and fans of hand-drawn animations will appreciate. Gomo isn’t a great example of the genre by any means, but it’s nice to look at and a fun little diversion. I found it rather endearing.
TOP GAME MOMENT
An unexpected curtain-call near the end featuring every single odd little creature you’ve stumbled past on your way through the adventure raises a smile.