GoNNER

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
GoNNER Game Poster Image
Frantic, challenging action game lacks depth.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No positive messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Unknown whether characters are positive or negative, focus on killing everything on-screen limits positive role modeling.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn, but large difficulty curve can frustrate.

Violence

Running, gunning results in cartoony splats, no blood, gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that GoNNER is a downloadable action game. Gameplay is "procedurally generated," meaning that every level is different each time you play. While there's a focus on combat and firing various guns, there's no blood or gore, and enemies explode into cartoonish splats. Gameplay is easy to pick up and play, but spikes in difficulty can frustrate players.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

GONNER doesn't have much of a story. Intriguingly, you start life as a drop of water that grows arms and legs, eventually picks up a head, and then a gun and a backpack. You aren't given much more explanation about why you're there, what you're doing, and who you are. It quickly becomes clear that your main focus is to kill everything that moves, try to beat your best scores, find secrets, and collect weapons so that you can keep doing it all again.

Is it any good?

This fast-paced action title can keep you on the edge of your seat for a while, but its lack of depth won't hold your interest. Games like GoNNER -- both in terms of genre and general simplicity -- depend entirely on whether you like what's at its core. It's true that what you see at the end of the first minute will be the same thing you effectively see hours and hours into the game: jumping and shooting, offset by getting new weapons and items, then promptly back to more jumping and shooting. Many games can be described like this, but GoNNER is literally only that. It's a fast-twitch game, where you try to beat your own records, and it doesn't promise to be anything more than that. In fact, when comparing the newer Switch version to its PC and Mac predecessor, the only additions are some new enemy types. But, in all honesty, the things you shoot don't really matter, because all you have to do is shoot them. Although there's some variety in the game the further you press on (bats and slugs give way to porcupines and robots), the end result is insignificant to the obstacles you run across -- especially since it doesn't take long to learn each enemy's pattern of movement. Everything tends to move too fast to really take in anyway, and they're only on screen for a few seconds before you blast them off, so it's understandable why the game can wind up feeling a bit disposable.

But, in terms of a honed focus, the core game has some legs. Video games in particular excel at targeting one skill and challenging you to master it, and GoNNER wants only to have you kill enemies in quick succession (which activates a score multiplier). The difficulty level is quite high and it'll take some time to acclimate yourself since there's no tutorial. At least the daily challenges (which provide only one game session a day), which let you see how you stack up on a global leaderboard, can offer a little bit more longevity. On the whole, though, what's here is reasonably enjoyable but just doesn't take you to any new or surprising places.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence OK in this game because it's clearly unrealistic, and there's no blood or gore shown, or is it a problem because you're constantly firing guns? Why?

  • Talk about entertainment that isn't very deep but has clever gimmicks for gameplay. Why are these types of experiences sometimes uninteresting and other times surprisingly rewarding and captivating? 

  • When the game makes you aware of each level's layout only as you progress through it, does that make you play differently? Do you think this says something about the way you can choose to live your life, as well? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love action

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