Where To Get It: Steam
Oh hell… I got played by Comet… Comet, the worst liar on the ship outside of Shigemichi… She’d collaborated with me early on, and then… She voted me out in the final round. She wasn’t even a Gnosia, the other one was…
But here’s the thing… It was loop 40. And the characters get stat boosts and new abilities over time, just like you do. And, in the end, while I was a good orator, people had gotten tired of my shit, because I talked too much.
Here’s the takeaways, and they’re important for playing Gnosia overall: Be suspicious of even those you think are close friends… And consider your moves carefully, because, in this visual novel game of mafia, even the basics of accuse, cover, defend, and argue can backfire on you. And, throughout it all, you’re trying to understand what’s even going on. Why are you entering all these alternate timelines? What are the Gnosia, the mafia of this game who can erase one person from reality each night? What are the Bugs, the people who can destroy the universe with their paradoxical presence? And… Who the hell are you and these other people anyway?
Right, a brief note on Mafia or Werewolf for those who don’t know. There are the killers, who can kill each night. It goes day, night, day, night, and each day, the group argues as to who the killer is (in Gnosia, there is no choice but to vote, even on the first day, by the way.) The game then introduces other roles: The AC Follower, who doesn’t know who the Gnosia are, but sows confusion in their name. The Bug, who, if they survive, win the game (and destroy that universe.) The Engineer, who can check someone each night to see if they’re Gnosia. The Doctor, who can check who you voted out each night to see if they were Gnosia. The Guardian Angels, who can protect one person a night, but not themselves, and The Guards, a pair who, if they declare themselves, can permanently remove suspicion of them, because no-one else can claim their role, unlike the Doctor or Engineer.
There’s your summary. Now, onto the aesthetics and the writing. Aesthetically, it’s simultaneously lovely, with its hand painted characters, and off, because there’s always something a little weird about the characters, exaggerated when they’re Gnosia, and they’ve won, showing their true colours. It’s accessible and friendly, with a sans serif font, clear icons, no faffing about that obscures things… I like it.
The writing is less clear cut, because, outside of character specific events, the introduction of features, and the occasional snippet, there’s not a whole lot of it. Is that a point against it? Well… No. Because the characters are fleshed out, the snippets are interesting (particularly amusing is the one where either Jonas or Shigemichi, an overly verbose and poetic captain and a gullible guy who alienised himself, out themselves as Gnosia because they couldn’t possibly lose that videogame they’re passionate about!), and these are clues as to who to trust. They tell you a little about their behaviours, who they’ll pick on, who they’ll defend. Kukrushka, for example, will defend you with all her sweet, mute heart if you’re her friend, but if you’re her enemy? Oh boy, she’s going to hate you and go after you every chance she gets. They’re helpful, and honestly, the whole cast is likeable, even Raqio, the smug nonbinary fucko (yes, there are queer folks in this game, another plus) who values intelligence over everything.
And some characters definitely appear to know more than they’re letting on. Hi, Yuriko.
Overall, I like Gnosia. It’s simple, it’s replayable by design, and while certain characters are a bitch to get all their fragments from (you have to futz with the difficulty to get a chance of ideal circumstances), it’s a pleasure to get to know a little more about them… And the overarching mysteries of the game. My only bitch about the port is a pretty minor one, and that’s that the mouse controls seem a bit finicky. But only a bit, there’s keyboard and controller to play, and it’s turn based, so no big.
The Mad Welshman is sus no matter what happens, so hey, vote him out, doom yourselves by all means!