What is perhaps Gonner’s most delightful mechanic is how much it relies on visual and experiential explanation. You figure things out by dying and trying again—from the beginning, in proper roguelike fashion. If you’re missing a body-component, a bubble appears with an image of that component and a question mark. From just seeing an enemy, like a porcupine or a snail, you know exactly how to defeat it, either hitting its soft belly or scaling a wall. Really, my favorite visual explainer was how it explains its procedurally-generated elements. No two levels are the same, so you never know what’s ahead. To demonstrate, Gonner’s levels are sketched out piece-by-piece the deeper into them you go.


You also have the option to speed through levels, avoiding enemies rather than shooting them. Having tried both methods, it’s much easier to just clear a path for yourself.

Nothing about Gonner is easy, but everything about it is rewarding and addictive. Its spirit as a light-hearted, come-at-me platformer, wrapped up in darkly cute art, makes it feel less evil than playful.