PLATFORM: SWITCH | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
"Who's the alien among you?"-games have grown in popularity recently, found in board games such as the excellent Battlestar Galactica and mainstream social videogames like Among Us and Jackbox's Push the Button. These games are all about playing with others, but Gnosia takes on a different route as a single-player experience. It plays out like a visual novel, but mixed with RPG elements, strategy and some detective work.
The game begins with a large chunk of text about the situation which is too fast to read, quickly followed up by an amusing "Did you get all that?" from the first of many characters that you meet. It's explained that you have amnesia and that it's time to vote which one of you is an alien. The person with the most votes is then put into a cold sleep while everyone else goes into stasis for the night. However, it turns out that during this time there's a brief window for the alien on board - the Gnosia - to kill one member of the crew. The next day, if it turns out the person put in a cold sleep was in fact human, another round of accusations and voting begins. The "phase" ends either when there are no Gnosia alive or when there are as many Gnosia as there are humans.
The phases are briefly explained as some form of reality shift or time travel. Each time a new phase starts, there are a different number of crew members, different people are the aliens and there's not always just one alien. As you progress, other interesting roles are assigned at the start of the phase; The Doctor is able to tell you if the person in cold sleep was an alien, the Science officer can scan one person per night for alien DNA, an AC follower wants to confuse everyone, and there's a bug that wants to destroy the universe...
Gameplay is made up of two elements. By reviewing accusations and seeing who was murdered the night before (and working out why), you must figure out who is the Gnosia. That's the "easier" part. The harder part is convincing the other people to vote for them. You have five rounds of accusations before a vote to do so. After the initial few phases, voting gets even harder as your immunity to being voted out is gone, so not only do you want to convince others, but at the same time you need to lay low so people don't suspect you. Like multiplayer games in the same genre, it can be extremely frustrating when it's obvious to you who the alien is but no one believes you. But that's all part of the fun.
As the game goes on, you'll learn more and more about there characters ans about the mysteries surrounding why you're jumping between realities, and what's really going on. Gnosia is a unique and fun experience, but its repetitive dialogue and insistence at the amount of phases you must endure to advance the story dictate that it should be played in the small doses. Each phase only lasts 5-10 mins though, making this perfect for a handheld / portable game.