Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Indie Nation #21: Gish

8:03 PM on 06.06.2008 // Anthony Burch

I honestly dunno what prompted my desire to replay and write about Gish. The game is several years old, hasn't experienced a significant price drop, and no recent news has been released about the sequel. I just had one of those cravings -- you know the kind I mean -- where you wake up with the insatiable need to play a game whose protagonist is an amorphous blob of black goop.

If you haven't played Gish already, then you really need to check out the demo, or purchase it from the same page. For the sake of summary, Gish is an action-platformer-puzzle game where you play the titular blob of goo, who can only move and interact with the environment by compressing himself, sticking to things, and sliding around. 

As always, I'll just leave it at that where the home page is concerned; best to try out the demo and judge for yourself, if you're so inclined. After the jump, however, you'll find my opinion on why this game is so good (and more than worth $10, on Steam). 

I know I've used this analogy before with a different indie game, so forgive me if it sounds familiar, but I cannot for the life of me remember when or why I used it.

Anyway, Gish is like Portal. I know that sounds ridiculous, but look at the main gameplay ideas behind Portal: it's about using a single mechanic, initially unfamiliar to the player, and building an entire game around that mechanic. The mechanic is versatile enough that it can allow for puzzle, exploration, and action gameplay.

dfdfd

The mechanic is intertwined with movement, progression, and literally every aspect of the game -- were the mechanic removed, the game would no longer exist, much less be any fun. Complication upon complication are added onto this central game mechanic, as new things are constantly shown to the player while still being tied to the original conceit.

In Portal, this mechanic was the portal gun. In Gish, the mechanic is Gish's ability (or lack thereof) to traverse his environment.

Gish can make himself sticky, slippery, or heavy, and he can jump. That's it. He comes with all these abilities at the very beginning of the game; the main conflict of Gish is not between the player and the puzzles, but between the player and Gish himself. The "puzzles" in Gish are usually straightforward, usually no more complicated than "pull this lever to open this door." The player knows exactly what needs to be done to solve these puzzles, but the difficulty is figuring out how to manipulate Gish to get the stuff done. 

wewew

This sounds like a potential recipe for disaster (who would want to spend the entirety of a game essentially fighting their avatar?), but the physics and controls are so damned smooth and believable that rather than feeling unfair or combative, every second of Gish feels like a learning experience. Very little is revealed to the player through the first level tutorial, so the player is constantly learning more about what Gish can do with an incredibly limited number of abilities.

While the first-time player will probably take a good few minutes to get through each level, by the time they've hit the halfway mark they'll be speeding through the same sorts of puzzles and obstacles with effortless dexterity. Not because the player has gained some new ability or deus ex machina, but simply because the player gets better at controlling Gish.

I know that sounds like a no-brainer -- of course you get better at a game the more you play it -- but Gish derives most of its player satisfaction from constantly increasing the player's awareness of Gish's capabilities, and their own ability to adequately control him.

yy1

If that all sounds a little pretentious and abstract, then just know that Gish is a wonderfully clever, genre-bending side-scroller that's so good I still wanted to talk about it four years after its release. Try the demo, at least; the $20 tag might seem a bit high given the game's age, but Gish's length, quality, and multiplayer options more than make up for the cost.






 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
If anyone wants to peep me having a quick, unpolished go at some cheesy Sonic music, the fun is here: https://soundcloud.com/justin-stewart-57/i-am-all-of-me-wip
Torchman avatarTorchman
Daily reminder that your waifu is shit. That is all.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
While fighting a Lucas, I did Bayo's up taunt, then I remembered what happened to Lucas's Mom in Mother 3. Now I feel bad.
Xeo avatarXeo
Anyone played Digimon Cyber Sleuth yet? I'm hearing great things about it and strongly considering picking it up. Thoughts?
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
São Paulo's samba schools parade is about to start on tv! It is not as good as the one from Rio de Janeiro, but still pretty good and nice to watch. Also, there is some ice cold beer waiting for me and my girl. Yeah!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Well, the Guinness is poured, and the Waifu Wars article is under way. Can you guess who it's going to be?
PappaBear avatarPappaBear
Impromptu Quiplash Stream Pre-FNF Come join https://gaming.youtube.com/watch?v=793yaFcpJyI
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
After a long struggle, I seem to have landed in a dream job. It's very exciting and nerve wracking, but I'm happy with where I ended up.
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Got myself a job for the summer! Now celebrating with some freshly bought Gravity Rush.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
REMEMBER: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is on PS+ for PS3! For PS3/PS4 owners like me who have barely used their PS3's since the PS4, remember that Sony still supports it!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
*Giggles with glee* img I am loving XCOM 2, even what little of the story I've seen is great! Lost one solider in the first mission. After if course completely failing it XD
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
So uh... I didn't know Nordic was handing out free upgrades of Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition for us owners of the original game + all DLC on PC. I wonder if it's even worth installing compared to the original release.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Change the text to Destructoid. Make the alien Mr. Destructoid. And make the skulls either just Jonathan Holmes, or all staff. [img]http://www.destructoid.com/ul/339243-/xcom2box-noscale.jpg[/img] We can make it into an unofficial shirt if it rocks?
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Can any California based Dtoiders confirm/deny how accurate American Truck Simulator is, scenery wise? Apart from the total lack of pedestrians, that is.As a Brit I remember playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 and not recognising a damn thing about Manchester.
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Wario getting a look at dat ass the only way he knows how.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Okay, what the hell is Youth Health Mag and why is it always sited as a news source?
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
I changed my avatar. You want to sue me? My lawyers are ready to trademark suing me so you have to pay me first.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
The multiple flavors of the soundtrack found in the options of Crypt of the Necrodancer is one of the coolest things I've ever seen a rhythm game do. Been happily replaying the earlier levels just to see a different artist's take on Danny B's original.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, the steam lunar new year sale got me. By making me get BROFORCE!!!! I feel more patriotic already.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
DICKS! Now that I have your attention why don't you join our [url=https://discord.gg/0koh7AdmqhjF1egd]super unofficial Discord chat room[/url]? No installs required and it is always up. So far no spam, no drama, all fun and chit chat / dank memes.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -