Gon is a simple, delightfully designed, physics based game with a decent amount of character to help separate it from the plethora of iOS games on the App Store.
Gons are a species of cute, round, furry characters from another time and space. The Gons’ time travelling device malfunctioned and they ended up somewhere at the beginning of all time. It is now up to you to help Gon-Gon and his friends travel through time and return home.
Gameplay is straightforward. Your Gon is in perpetual free fall and you are tasked with keeping him in the air and moving him forwards through time. To do so, you draw a paddle with your finger — a simple line the furry character bounces off of. These paddles can be angled to adjust the trajectory of your Gon. The aim of the game is to help bounce your Gon through time as he travels from Mesopotamia, flies past the pyramids of Egypt, negotiates his way through Rome and more, avoiding obstacles on the way. You must ensure that your Gon does not bounce off screen as that spells game over.
In the game, you’re given a brief tutorial to help get you started. It explains the basic premise and the gameplay involved although there’s relatively little to pick up — it’s as simple as keeping your Gon on screen and in the air as time scrolls from right to left. For each obstacle you pass, you get a point — these add up to be your high score. Points can also be converted into Gona, the in-game currency for the Gona Shop where you can buy extra lives, power ups and new Gon characters to play with (each with different properties).
At first, playing is easy. The pace at which you move forwards is slow and the obstacles are predictable and easy to pass. It soon picks up though and multiple moving obstacles mean you really have to begin to think fast about how you angle your paddles and how your Gon might bounce off the oncoming obstacles. The physics in Gon are accurate and feel true to life which is essential in a game of this kind.
The app is visually very good too — the Gons have some character and the scenery in the app is splendid, especially as you move through time, and the soundtrack is unique and atmospheric.
My main gripes with Gon (as is the case with many “freemium” iOS games) center around the game’s implementation of in-app purchases. Firstly, in-game currency Gona can be spent way faster than it can be earned. Points you earn in-game aren’t translated 1:1 to Gona — instead, points must be saved and accumulated to get more Gona. Each power up or Gon character that you buy costs Gona and you’ll soon find yourself running out. But, of course, there’s an option to buy more with real-world money.
I mind it less when a game makes it difficult yet achievable to earn something such as in-game currency, but provides an in-app purchase for those impatient enough to want it now. But when it seems almost impossible to enjoy the game without the currency and it takes too long to gain any through gameplay, I feel it impacts negatively on the whole experience of the game.
In this case, I wish it were just slightly easier to earn Gona as this would aid progression in the game, help build a sense of achievement and ultimately keep people playing longer. Instead, you feel disheartened that you have to play for so long to be able to afford anything in the Gona Shop and this results in the user having to make the choice to persevere, or simply stop playing the game.
The wrap up
The good: Gon looks and sounds great and has a unique gameplay and a good amount of character to help separate it from the rest of the casual game crowd on the App Store.
The bad: In-app purchases for in-game currency feel like a cash-grab when the currency is so hard to accumulate through regular gameplay.
The verdict: Gon is a simple and fun physics-based game. It has a unique style although there are some flaws in its implementation of IAPs. Gon is easy to pick up, but whether it is enough to keep you playing is another matter. However, it’s certainly worth the $0.00 asking price to find out for yourself. Download Gon for free in the App Store now.