To describe Gomi as a combination of Rolando and Katamari Damacy does a disservice to Gomi’s unique qualities. Yes, Gomi is a blob that you roll by tilting your iDevice, and he does devour larger and larger objects as your progress through each stage. But we discovered, to our great shock, other notable influences: the gravity-defying physics of Super Mario Galaxy, the emotional resonance of Okami, and a stunning soundtrack that to our ears sounded similar to the work of synthesizer maestro Vangelis.
Your Gomi is a brightly-colored blob (you can alter its shape and hue by unlocking new looks throughout the game) who serves as a sort of organic recycling center. Trash goes in, including beach balls, toxic waste, and spacemen, and colorful flowers pop out. Your goals vary slightly in each stage, but generally they involve rolling at a slow, patient pace, leaping to stick to new areas, and collecting enough trash to move on to the next stage.
Balloons are pretty, but bad for the Earth.
While these basic tasks can feel a little dull at first, the game opens up wildly later on to include special abilities, like blowing up your Gomi like a puffer fish to move faster and pick up bigger objects. Plus, at the end of each of eight worlds, you’ll face off against a unique boss, which can involve new objectives like saving baby seals or body slamming the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.
Gomi is as eclectic as we’d hope a game could be. The visual style matches the recent cult favorite Enviro-Bear 2010, but Gomi plays much, much better. The background characters are drawn with a childlike messiness, like the Sheriff in the Adult Swim cartoon Squidbillies. Plus, the game even conveys a deeply touching environmental message towards the end, as cheerful tones become somber, and the black and yellow beach balls, it’s revealed, are radioactive warning signs turned slightly to the side.
This game has lots of heart.
All this, in a game ostensibly about a rolling shape with two facial expressions: joy and surprise. Having spent over seven hours beating the game’s 40+ levels, joy and surprise are on our faces too. Even after completing this epic campaign, we’re only 25% done with the game’” the rest requires us to revisit each level for dozens of unique achievements, including time limits, combo strings and high scores. Plus, Gomi contains eight unlockable minigames that would be separate paid downloads in any other game.
It’s rare to find a game that successfully brings together multiple influences and creates an amazing new experience. Although the various, recognizable aspects of Gomi (like rolling and platforming) will appeal to those who love other games, Gomi could easily form its own dedicated fanbase as well. Our hats are off to Bovinedragon for combining stellar sound, gameplay and graphics into an engaging and entertaining adventure.