Review: Nongünz

Billed as a nihilistic action platformer, Nongünz certainly delivers on an experience steeped in the choice between situational improvement and despair, at least on the surface.

Upon first glance Nongünz seems to deliver a world that’s mysterious, lonely and hopeless, and while the sense of loneliness and hopelessness remain constant to a degree, they present more of a veil to a less intriguing world than I could have hoped.

The basic premise seems to be that you play as some sort of undead warrior, doomed to rise again and again to endlessly traverse through the halls of a mysterious church-turned-dungeon that’s nestled in an old western inspired graveyard. Visually I found the overworld far more intriguing, as the actual dungeon very quickly becomes a boring mish-mash of the same background with only the room layouts to distinguish it.

The difficulty in traversing the world comes less from a sense of skill and more from how many upgrades you can collect at any given time. These upgrades come largely at the cost of your own health and you can, I soon discovered, sacrifice those upgrades to regain it. Or you can escape through a window back to the overworld to reset your progress and continue doing the first few rooms over and over again.

What further trivializes this is that, once you free a few followers (the currency which is accumulated from how many bullets you shoot) they begin to accumulate it for you. The moment you learn how the upgrade station in the over-world works, there’s absolutely nothing discouraging simply tabbing away from the game for an hour or two to accumulate currency and return decked out with whatever extra power and weapon you prefer.

The issue here is even encouraged; when you make to exit the game you’re brought to an odd screen that shows you as a player, with Nongünz running on a computer in your room. In this odd in-between state time within the actual game progresses faster, allowing you to accumulate currency at an expedited rate. Overall, it cheapens an experience that showed a lot of promise.

I have very mixed feelings about Nongünz. The difficulty is both challenging but at the same time a bit cheap, at least at first, and unfortunately while fun, soon becomes terribly repetitive. I’ll still be playing but, likely only for short, quick-run sessions to see how far I can get.