I started The Gunk with keen anticipation, blasting throughout the swirling clouds of the cosmos. The opening cinematic is gorgeous and filled with promise. Sadly, it’s also the apex of the brief sport’s trajectory. In a sport full of alien worlds splashed with coloration and populated with extraterrestrial mysteries, The Gunk falls surprisingly flat. Thankfully, 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 worthwhile assets to repay their money owed and set themselves up for all times. As Rani, you fearlessly discover the unknown world, scanning life varieties for information, leaping from craggy cliffs to outsized leaves, and ultimately, clearing away obstructive, plant-destroying Gunk. Becks stays with the ship, however the comms permit a simple 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 dangerous firm to maintain, this highlights a problematic sample: nothing in The Gunk feels distinctive.
Every part on this journey is harking back 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 flowers for crafting supplies, really feel extremely well-trod and uninspired. On the one hand, The Gunk feels acquainted and barely snug. Alternatively, nothing actually stands out, 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 just a little unsaturated. As a substitute of triggering an awe-inspiring second the place the gray, Gunk-infested panorama transforms right into a vibrant oasis of unique flowers, the dulled aesthetic means cleansing the Gunk from a location solely has a average visible affect, which diminishes the fun of cleaning every space.
Throughout dialogue-heavy sections, the character fashions’ lips flap like lifeless puppets, leading to cutscenes which can be superb to hearken to however awkward to observe. Working, leaping, and taking pictures feels clean, however I sometimes received caught on the encompassing geometry. Hovering helplessly within the air due to a glitch is annoying, as is noticing that vegetation and rocks usually have the identical texture, however they didn’t cease me from having an excellent time working all over the world and engaging in my mission.
That mission is, at first, simple. Gather assets from the world to make much-needed repairs to my robotic, vacuum-ready prosthetic arm and search for something that may promote for large bucks. Nevertheless, the adventurous Rani can’t cease herself from making an attempt to rid the world of the sticky mass threatening its natural world. Unraveling the thriller of the Gunk’s origin places Rani at odds with the pragmatic Becks, who doesn’t wish 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 sturdy sufficient to push me on from one linear part to the subsequent.
The Gunk deserves a good bit of criticism and solely just a little unreserved reward. The connection between the characters holds up the story, sucking up goo is surprisingly 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 sensible hues and unearthly varieties. Sadly, it doesn’t fairly hit that mark. All mentioned, The Gunk is a reliable romp by means of house, however not a stellar one.