I started The Gunk with keen anticipation, blasting throughout the swirling clouds of the cosmos. The opening cinematic is gorgeous and stuffed with promise. Sadly, additionally it is the apex of the brief sport’s trajectory. In a sport crammed with alien worlds splashed with colour and populated with extraterrestrial mysteries, The Gunk falls surprisingly flat. Happily, this spacecraft manages to remain afloat with likable characters, strong gameplay, and a serviceable story.
The Gunk’s heroes, Rani and Becks, are a pair of plucky and impoverished house haulers. They contact down on an unknown planet hoping to find helpful sources to repay their money owed and set themselves up for all times. As Rani, you fearlessly discover the unknown world, scanning life varieties for knowledge, leaping from craggy cliffs to outsized leaves, and finally, clearing away obstructive, plant-destroying Gunk. Becks stays with the ship, however the comms permit a straightforward forwards and backwards between the ship’s co-captains, which jogs my memory of Cowboy Bebop and Firefly, exhibits that star intrepid house vacationers in fixed want of money. Whereas not unhealthy firm to maintain, this highlights a problematic sample: nothing in The Gunk feels distinctive.
Every part on this journey is paying homage to one thing else, and, for essentially the most half, it’s been carried out higher someplace else. After encountering the planet’s titular gooey substance for the primary time and vacuuming it up with my robotic arm, I flashed again to Luigi’s Mansion. Different options, from opening shortcuts by dropping climbable vines to taking pictures glowing buttons that open locked doorways to harvesting the planet’s vegetation for crafting supplies, really feel extremely well-trod and uninspired. On the one hand, The Gunk feels acquainted and barely comfy. Then again, nothing actually stands proud, making this expertise virtually forgettable.
Regardless of evoking different nice exhibits and video games, The Gunk by no means reaches the heights of its inspirations. Regardless of the vary of colours in these alien landscapes, the hues by no means pop, and the terrain all the time appears somewhat unsaturated. As an alternative of triggering an awe-inspiring second the place the gray, Gunk-infested panorama transforms right into a vibrant oasis of unique vegetation, the dulled aesthetic means cleansing the Gunk from a location solely has a reasonable visible impression, which diminishes the joys of cleaning every space.
Throughout dialogue-heavy sections, the character fashions’ lips flap like lifeless puppets, leading to cutscenes which might be effective to take heed to however awkward to observe. Working, leaping, and taking pictures feels easy, however I often obtained caught on the encircling geometry. Hovering helplessly within the air because of a glitch is annoying, as is noticing that crops and rocks usually have the identical texture, however they didn’t cease me from having an excellent time working around the globe and undertaking my mission.
That mission is, at first, simple. Accumulate sources from the world to make much-needed repairs to my robotic, vacuum-ready prosthetic arm and search for something which may promote for large bucks. Nevertheless, the adventurous Rani can’t cease herself from attempting to rid the world of the sticky mass threatening its wildlife. Unraveling the thriller of the Gunk’s origin places Rani at odds with the pragmatic Becks, who doesn’t need to waste their treasured and diminishing provides fixing another person’s downside. Because of this, the battle on the coronary heart of this story was robust sufficient to push me on from one linear part to the following.
The Gunk deserves a good bit of criticism and solely somewhat unreserved reward. The connection between the characters holds up the story, sucking up goo is unusually satisfying, and the mechanics work as meant. Nevertheless, I want the world felt extra distinctive and higher realized. The setting has the potential to be a vibrant kaleidoscope with good hues and unearthly varieties. Sadly, it doesn’t fairly hit that mark. All stated, The Gunk is a reliable romp by means of house, however not a stellar one.