As you may have noticed, I'm a fan of artsy Flash games. The freedom of indie projects gives programmers a chance to convey a message alongside good game play, and I always find those messages interesting, regardless of what they're saying.
I just wish I knew what Gyossait was saying.
This game... is messed up. And even though I chose a worthy title for a Halloween game in Rebuild, Gyossait is the game I SHOULD have reviewed on October 31. Trust me.
Okay. So. I'm not entirely sure what happens in Gyossait, but I'll take a stab in the dark anyway. AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, Gyossait is the tale of Oyeatia, the god of mankind, and his lost love Gyossait. Ignoring his responsibilities as a god, Oyeatia sheds his divine body and returns to the Earth to find Gyossait...
... only to find Earth all messed up, because Gyossait's influence is poisoning the landscape.
Sounds straightforward, I guess, but even with the small blurb on Newgrounds.com about the game you'll still have a hell of a time figuring out what's going on, as Gyossait's narrative plays out through a series of creepy scenes and cryptic messages that are embedded into the landscape, like so:
Sure, that's cool. I dig.
Does this approach work? Yes. If nothing else, it sets the tone for what's meant to be a creepy-ass game, and though I'm not easily unnerved by video games I know a lot of other players will find Gyossait thoroughly disconcerting.
Oh yeah, it's also a side-scrolling, running and jumping and (occasionally) shooting game. There's that too.
The story is the important part of Gyossait, and since you have unlimited lives winning the game is a sure thing with enough mucking about, but the controls still play a crucial role in expediting your journey through this landscape.
Unfortunately, the controls are probably the weakest part of Gyossait. They aren't HORRIBLE, but your little god has a tendency to drift a bit when he moves, often leading to cruel, unfair deaths when you run into pits or enemies. On the plus side, however, the controls are very simple - run around, hit up for jumping, hit down to use your shield or fire your gun when you get one - and even with some hitches, getting around won't be too difficult.
As heavily stressed before, Gyossait is a strange, strange game. Earth has taken a turn for the surreal, complete with crimson skies, trees with eyeballs and giant heads that mock you for trying to reunite with your love.
I'm pretty sure you're in Hell at this point, but in Gyossait it's hard to tell.
Gyossait is pure SNES-era gaming when it comes to graphics. The backgrounds are gorgeous, and the sprites, though small, are surprisingly expressive... and, yeah, creepy. Part of this stems from the fact that you can't really be sure who's an enemy and who's just an innocent bystander until you walk by them... and that occasionally changes, so be wary of everyone.
Looking at you, shifty knife women.
If there's one downside to the graphics, it's the occasional ambiguity in the landscape. Because Gyossait is cast primarily in blacks, blues, reds and greys, some platforms blend into the background... and some backgrounds look like platforms. Be careful when jumping.
The graphics of Gyossait aren't the end-all be-all of atmosphere, however, as this game relies heavily on sound effects to set the proper mood. Gyossait is like so many other horror games in that its background music is more a collection of unnerving sounds and horrifying tones than it is actual music, and all of them are suitably insane. There is SOME music in here, and it's quite good, but most of the time you'll be wandering around in a screaming landscape. Quite diverse for a browser-based title, and overall well done.
You're a god in Gyossait. Consequently, you have as many lives as you want, and though you can die in a single hit you'll respawn every time. Winning is a matter of patience and time, and so it's difficult to give Gyossait a challenge rating, because you WILL win. Eventually.
That said, some parts of Gyossait can be tricky. There are plenty of enemies to circumvent, and the platform hopping portions can prove somewhat irksome if you don't master the jumping in a hurry. There are also some light item-collecting elements to Gyossait, though these puzzles are quite basic, and barely add to the challenge.
Oh yeah, and bosses. There are a couple of those. Your unlimited lives make beating them a moot point, however, so don't worry so much if you suck at boss battles.
Gyossait is a good, polished piece of Flash, but I don't know if I'd say it's fun, and I'd almost hesitate to call it a 'traditional' game. It is, instead, an experience - and one you're not likely to forget any time soon.
(Oh, and do as the game suggests and play in a darkened room with no distractions. Trust me.)