Gnosia Review – Werewolf in Space

    Title: Gnosia
    Developer: Petit Depot
    Release Date: March 3, 2021
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Playism
    Genre: Adventure

I’ll just get this out in the open from the start; anyone who has played the game Werewolf in any form will immediately know what Gnosia is going for when they begin this adventure. No, this isn’t like Among Us or anything like that, it’s like Werewolf, and that’s it. However, unlike Werewolf, Gnosia has an incredible narrative that feels like you are experiencing a TV show that blends Battlestar Galactica and Rick and Morty. Suffice to say; this is a great game.

Gnosia has a set of predetermined rules that have random elements about it. Every time you play, it will be different, but that’s only scratching the surface. During gameplay, you are on a ship of refugees. One of the crew members is Gnosia, an alien that takes the form of something else but wants to kill all non-Gnosia. There could be more than one Gnosia, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The rules are simple, find Gnosia through dialogue with the crew member across five turns and then vote. These conversations are completely random and require you to be perceptive. I could explain all the ins-and-outs of deceiving or the benefits of claiming to be something you’re not to narrow down your search, but that’s all discovered overtime.

Anyway, after the vote, the person with the most votes is put to sleep, and you can go to bed. Overnight, Gnosia will kill someone, it could be you, and the voting process starts over again. You’re able to narrow this down with special roles that Crew Members can be, such as an Engineer who can check if one person is Gnosia overnight or a doctor who can check if the person sent to a cold sleep was Gnosia. After each round, new roles and rules are introduced, so you must keep up as best as possible.

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What’s interesting is how this portion of the game is somehow working with the narrative. Each time you die, find Gnosia or lost to Gnosia, you’ll game experience points and start the game over. However, in a new game, known as a loop, something will be added, whether it be a new character, role, or special circumstance. The game ultimately just keeps getting grander.

The narrative will progress whether you win or lose, which I was just amazed by. Each loop unlocks a new piece to this puzzle, but don’t expect the strange events to stop. As you get close to characters, you’ll unlock information about them; this is one positive to winning or surviving and triggering events. This information is pretty much the real milestone in the game as you realize who these people really are and what this loop is all about.

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There are moments where you know exactly who Gnosia is but need to convince everyone else without bringing attention to yourself, or you can even be Gnosia and lie to the crew. There’s also a point where you can pick the crew’s size, role, crew’s role, and how many Gnosia are present, but the game will eventually take that away from you.

I really appreciated the several menus that organize the information that you gathered during the loop. You can easily check who is playing in the round, how many roles are present, and who those roles accuse of being Gnosia or not. Things became exceptionally complicated in the later loops, so get used to using your menus as you narrow down Gnosia, unless you are Gnosia, then just keep your head down.

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Win or lose; you’ll game experience that can be used to level up your character. This also unlocks abilities that can call out liars or make you less noticeable. You want to win, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. The more frustrating moments are when you know who Gnosia is, but no one believes you, and then you die.

What’s great about Gnosia is just how fun it is to play in hour-long sessions or short bursts. Each loop gets you closer to the truth, and the narrative makes itself so compelling that you can’t help but want to play one more round to try and get more answers. A lot of these moments revolve around Setsu, but you’ll experience CG scenes with other crew members as well.

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The atmosphere of Gnosia is just another extension of its greatest. You have these quirky characters who completely don’t go together. However, here they are expected to work together and survive. The whole mechanic isn’t perfect, though, as some of the logic of Gnosia doesn’t always make sense, making some sections feel completely random even if you are deducing who is covering for who and who is claiming to be someone they aren’t.

The ties to Werewolf are evident, but Gnosia really makes it its own, especially when the Bug is introduced. Yea, things get weird. I think the only downside of the entire experience is that luck sometimes plays a role in the game. I often wished I had more to say than I did to help defend myself, but given that there aren’t too many consequences for losing, it really doesn’t matter. Sadly, even as a Switch exclusive, the game doesn’t take advantage of the Switch touch screen.

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Gnosia takes the rules of a social game and turns it into a single-player science-fiction experience. Each loop will present you with more questions and slowly feed you answers to what is a compelling and unique narrative. The game is fueled by an amazing cast of insane characters and over-the-top mechanics that make it fun no matter how long you play.

Score:
9/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.