Gnosia is not your typical visual novel. This game tells a compelling story about humans and aliens, but here you play an active role as just paying attention to what everyone around you says is not enough if you want to live another day. Remember how in the Alien movie, the Xenomorph was taking all the crew members aboard the Nostromo one by one? Well, something similar will happen in Gnosia, but in a more political and treacherous way.
Simply put, Gnosia is the perfect game for those who would like to see a narrative-driven version of Among Us, where you can play and pretend without the need for other online players.
What to Expect
Gnosia can be taken as two different games in one. Being a visual novel, you can take every loop as part of the same narrative, where you must discover the truth behind these time travels, the personality of each passenger, and most importantly, the origin of an evil alien race known as the Gnos. On the other hand, you could also just focus on each loop independently and take all of them as a minigame, each with its own rules and objectives. Whatever the case, your detective skills and personal stats are fundamental. This is a game that's not about winning but understanding how the rest are playing... oh well, you still need to survive, so you have to win after all.
Anyone playing Gnosia will easily recognize and praise its indie visual novel graphics, with hand-drawn characters and simple backgrounds. Although there are several options and panels to help you with your investigation, everything is presented in a way that's easy to navigate, which is a plus. At the end of the day, Gnosia cares more about how it makes you feel than about how it looks, but it still does a great job with character design. Yes, there are several cute ladies and boys to pique our interest, but you can also find a few over-the-top characters that are more than just comedic relief. Don't get fooled by how these people look, or you'll end up dead or out of the game before knowing who the bad guys are!
Gnosia doesn't feature voice acting, which is a shame, and for that reason, it heavily relies on you assigning each character a personality—of course, their actions help a lot. Another result of not having voice acting is that music takes center stage, but the soundtrack is far from taking advantage of the situation. Most tracks are just loops of the same basic, overwhelming rhythms. Other tracks are there to influence your research and set the mood, like when you're being targeted or someone says something suspicious. Of course, there's also a melancholic song that plays after someone is put to cold sleep. It wouldn't be fair to say it doesn't work, but it's a cheap and predictable trick too—without mentioning the seemingly poor quality of the recording and effects.
The gameplay is where Gnosia shines!
You start the game as an amnesiac human who slowly learns about the current situation. You're in a spaceship, trapped with other humans and a Gnosia, an alien creature posing as a human. The only way to tell who the Gnosia is would be to closely examine all interactions and then, voting who will be put to cold sleep. If you and the others vote for the Gnosia, then the spaceship's AI will inform you there's no Gnosia activity and mankind wins the round; if you are wrong, the Gnosia will take advantage of the night to murder another human. You lose the game if more than half of the people are Gnosia, so taking the time to outwit the Gnosia is crucial. Of course, you also lose the game if you're the one everyone votes, or if the Gnosia decide to kill you in your sleep.
At first, winning a round is easy as there are only a few people and you know you're out of the equation... but what if you could play as an evil Gnosia?
Once you lose enough times, you start unlocking new elements that enrich the story and gameplay. Other than the Gnosia, there are several roles that could shed some light on some events and characters. The Engineer can analyze the others and see if one is either a human or a Gnosia. The Doctor can do the same but only those put into cold sleep, so you can take them as the ones who validate or judge the voting. Then there's the Guardian Angel, who can protect a person per night from the Gnosia attacks. The AC Followers are humans who instead of helping their own, will do everything at hand to cover the Gnosia. Lastly, we have those on Guard Duty, who are 100% human and can always be trusted. The thing is, the Gnosia will pose as Doctor and Engineer to mess up with your mind, so you never know who to trust unless their scheme becomes too obvious. When you play as the Gnosia, challenging the real Doctor and Engineer could be a wise strategy, but that's not always the case as you won't be able to go unnoticed.
Playing Gnosia is fun because it's a quick succession of loops where everything can happen. At one point, you can set up the rules and decide the crew size, how many Gnosia there are, the roles available, and your own situation. This doesn't mean you're actually in control of things, as more often than not you'll find yourself with new scenarios and characters harder to predict.
The more you play and the better your performances are, you can also level up your character and improve your stats. Charisma will make others follow your lead, Intuition makes other's lies more evident, Logic helps when trying to convince someone, Charm makes you less intimidating, Performance makes you a better liar, and Stealth gives you better chances against the Gnosia as they will be less likely to attack you. Paying attention to your own build is fine, but you also need to think about other people's stats—remembering what happened in your previous loops helps, but roles changing every time you die makes it more difficult!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
If you don't mind a game building a story from several minigames put together, then Gnosia is the perfect challenge for you. When you think you got the hang of it, it throws you a curveball to shake things up and put you on high alert again. We know there's always this guy who doesn't like playing Among Us if they're not the impostor, but all roles in Gnosia are equally fun—and hard—to play!
If you'd like your detective skills put to test, Gnosia is the way to go.
You never know what to expect, even when you set the rules.
All characters are interesting and questionable in their own way, which is perfect for a game like this.
We really like the hand-srawn graphics.
We wish it had a better soundtrack.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Not all games can deconstruct one of the most successful premises nowadays and still create something unique and fun to play, yet it's hard to call it an Among Us knockoff. Gnosia could be one of the best indie games of the year and definitely, one of the best Nintendo Switch exclusives. Don't miss out on the chance of playing it!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...