Explore and collect in this open world puzzle platformer!
Uurnog is what happens when Super Mario Bros. 2 and Metroid spend a drunken night together, do things they regret, and ultimately put the result up for adoption to be raised (or more accurately, left unsupervised) by Doug Rattman, who has recently become obsessed with creating music.
As far as I can tell, Uurnog is essentially a puzzle platformer with a "complete the monument" goal located in the save room. I state this with some uncertainty, as the game leaves a lot for you to learn by yourself. It occasionally drops hints via books, but they tend to omit specifics, forcing you to experiment and suss things out.
The bulk of the game consists of picking up and using a variety of items to solve puzzles. Except for locked doors (which require their corresponding key), the world is fairly open for you to explore and experiment. You can store up to four items in your inventory and even send items "home" at teleporter locations, allowing you to gather things far and wide to use later. Note that some locations are "cursed", meaning you cannot add items to your inventory there. While you can't take everything you see, there's still a lot of freedom in where you obtain what.
This freedom comes with two important strings attached: responsibility and complexity. The save room is the only place you can store items (other than your inventory), but under no circumstance should you consider the room to be safe. Items placed on teleporter locations get sucked up and temporarily stored until you return home, at which point they are spat out behind you. Inevitably, things will fall into the teleporter you may find less than desirable, such as an active bomb. It's your stuff in the save room, so you're responsible for minimizing loss in the event something dangerous gets in.
Using items you've picked up in an entirely different area seems like a luxury at first, but is actually a necessity that turns the game into a bit of a chore. You explore a new room to find you don't have the items required to complete it, so you return home to change out your inventory. You might even have to swing by other locations first to pick up stuff you don't have, then go tackle the puzzle. Looking at some rooms, I had no idea what combination of items I'd even need to progress, let alone where to find them. There's certainly no lack of puzzles to solve, but be ready to play a round or two of scavenger hunt first.
By the way, the NPC people in the game are not to be trusted. They will gladly shoot you, throw bombs and generally be a jerk at every opportunity. As the video shows, I left a puzzle room to be instantly killed by an NPC wielding a robot as a weapon. It was no big loss at the time, but it's not hard to imagine how infuriating it would be to get caught out like that with something of value.
Aesthetically speaking, Uurnog makes some interesting choices I both enjoyed and was surprised by. There's a lot of neon-glow against dark backgrounds, and overall gives off this Metroid feel. The music is quite unique by going beyond having an actual score. Instead, the game is programmed with an algorithm that changes the music as you play. It's not entirely evident what triggers changes, and that's probably for the best so you don't focus on trying to influence it. I was rather amused by the blocks mumbling to each other as if carrying on a conversation, and I swear one even laughed at me as I was attacked!
Uurnog's version of puzzle-platforming didn't win me over, but I have to admit that it combines a handful of familiar concepts to make something all its own.