25 Jul, 2004 reviewed by TomSamson

by Chronic Logic & Edmund McMillen

(visit the game site)

Maybe you haven´t heard of it even if you are reading reviews for pc games because gish was developed by a small company and not marketed in a huge way like the average pc games.

So what is Gish?

 Gish is a standalone pc game which wasn´t done in flash (well,the character graphics were, but to that part later),so if you wonder why you can read this review on gotoandplay,which is normally all about flash games, i´ll give you a short rundown:

We decided that once in a while, when we see something really exceptional rising at the horizon,we wouldn´t be strict and dish it because it is not made in flash, of course this only counts for milestone games which could be inspiring for the flash game developers alike, just because they are so creative and wicked.

Well,the moment has come, Gish is here =) .


the graphics (besides the lighting engine) aren´t awesome but the characters have their own freaky style

Gish is a platformer game,so basically like mario and millions of others, what turns the game into something special is the main character, his powers and the game engine and the crazy things it allows the player to do.

You can trust me, you have never seen and done things like that before =)


the mummies in one of the later worlds (which looks very egyptlike) are my favorite enemies (which maybe doesn´t show in this screenshot as i crushed his body by landing on his head with big impact ;) )

Gish is a ball of tar, not the average heroic character.

But beeing and playing a ball of tar is not as unpleasing as it may sound at first, actually it turns out to be more fun than controlling any ordinary hero =).

Tar has some powers you may not have thought of,first of all it seems to attract girls, gish has a girlfirend and the whole storyline is about her getting lost and you trying to rescue her.

More important for the player are the things you can do beeing a ball of tar, you have controls as in no other game.

Basically you move with the cursor keys and have four extra abilities:

· Jump

· Get sticky

· Slide and

· Get heavy

Jumping,though more than familar from other games is not the same: being a semi fluidlike ball gish behaves as such, therefore you jump, gish raises a bit into the air and falls down again.

Once landing, his “body” gets flat and wide. If you jump again in the right moment (in the one gish has reached a really flat look), you can jump higher. Once you land again, the impact of landing is stronger, Gish gets wider and flatter than the first time and with the right timing, you can jump even higher. That way you can reach bigger heights with each jump.


Get sticky is my favorite ability, once using it, small needle like spikes grow out of gish´s body and you can stick to walls and other things. That way you can move along the top walls from which the normal gish would fall down. Besides that you can stick other objects to gish and carry them along as gish rolls his way.


call me the glue :D here you can see how to use the "sticky" power to bend to objects ansd walls (to roll along the roof and avoid lava below for example :) )

 Slide makes gish even more fluid than he is normally ,that way he can flow through narrow passages as his body adopts to the given space better. 


i´m a fluid and flowing throw the pipe,how smooth is that? :)

Heavy allows gish to break through walls and easily crush enemies when falling on them.


As if all of that creativity in controls wasn´t enough, gish features the best physics engine in any platformer and that engine takes up a big part in the gameplay and layouts of the levels.

 Each and every object in the gameworld has several physical properties like a mass, friction etc. and you can influence them with your abilities.

For example there is a platform in the air bend on two ropes.

You can jump on it and jump up and down in the center of it until the ropes burst, then the block falls down and crushes enemies below it. Or you could stand on one of the edges of that bend platform and jump up and down until only one of the ropes brakes, then the platform would swing around hanging at the rope which is still fine. You could then use the sticky ability to glue gish to the swinging platform and use jump in the moment the platform swings to its highest point to reach areas you couldn´t reach before.

Later you can pull of combinations of your abilities and the impacts of the physics engine to do more wicked things which are also needed to master the later levels (like throwing objects around, driving on moving objects etc.) 

The physics engine gives the game the feel of having a great playroom with endless possibilities in which you could experiment for hours.

The downside of it is that sometimes the physics can also get into your way while trying to beat the level as the enemies can have impact on moving objects, too, so a dumb enemy could for example crush a platform you needed to get on to move on.

Often that´s not problematic as in most levels there are pretty much no rules how to get to the goal,you could do it in endless ways combining your abilities but in a few cases it really stopped me from finishing the level and i had to retry (and when you press retry,one of your lifes is taken away).

 While we are talking about the few downsides gish has,here´s the biggest one:



Gish is a game in which the player is confronted with puzzle like level setups (and endbosses) and you have to get to the goal in a way you want. That freedom is great but the problem is that sometimes you get into a new area in which something avaites you which might kill you quickly.

That way you sometimes die the first time you play part of a level as you don´t know what exactly happens. These situations get more as you advance in the game.

Each world has several levels (about 6 normally) and an endboss in the last level.

If you die, you start again in the level of the world in which you died. But if you loose your last life and use a continue, you start again in the first level of that world.

That coupled with the “dying because of not knowing the level yet” issue leads to some anger sometimes and is my only big complaint on the game.

Besides that its all good.


the first level explains the controls and gives you hints to get started using your mighty powers

The game has a nice learning curve, you are introduced to how to use your special powers and combine them step by step.

There are also some two player battle games and a collection game mode.

Especially the one on one two player battle levels (some are very sumo like as you try to balance on a platform while at the same time trying to kick the other player off the platform)

are a good fun when a friend comes around.

I could go on for pages and hours to mention all the good sides of gish,i could tell you that the game also has awesome realtime lighting effects which are also influenced by the moving objects, or i could tell you about the cute characters and sweet animations (yep,maybe also about the splattering animations when you jump on the head of an enemy which is still cute as the enemy and the animation are just too cute to be gory) or about the cool movie parody pictures coming up before each level,or the funny background story which evolves to unexpected areas later, or about hidden bonus games,some of which are complete games and just awesome, but well,

i´ll leave it at saying gish is the most creative and cool platformer in decades

(which is nothing less than impressive having in mind there are about a million platformers out there ;) )

A last small complaint would be that you can´t charge the game from screenshots.

Its not gish´s fault really,its just that the special powers and the physics engine and the impact on gameplay and light engine don´t show in screenshots and even in movies you can only imagine them.


too bad images don´t show how fun it is to swing on platforms,break the ropes,throw obects through the air,see

their impact on others and crush things if they have strong enough force.

So i want to point out that you should watch the teaser movie or better play the demo to see it for yourself.

(you can get both here:

http://www.chroniclogic.com/index.htm?gish.htm or check out the nice flash site:

http://www.chroniclogic.com/gish/index.html )








Anyone who wants to play an out of the average,over the top and nothing else than awesome game just like ones who are game developers and want to get a huge bunch of great inpirations should get gish right away.






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