Indie game spotlight is a series where we take a look at indie games one by one and give you the reasons as to why they are worth checking out. Indie games are a fantastic way to get together with a group of friends or family and casually have a good time while sharing laughs or tears. These games are also fantastic if you want to blow off some steam in a way that doesn’t stress you out like online shooters do, as these experiences are usually short, sweet, and memorable, and most can be completed in a single sitting. Today’s game: “The Gunk”
What Is ‘The Gunk’?
“The Gunk” is developed by Image and Form Games and is an adventure game where you play as Rani and explore a mysterious planet. Rani and her partner Beck are a couple of scavengers, and they arrive on this planet hoping to find a jackpot that will pull them out of financial debt. The planet looks fine on the surface, but they soon discover the entire planet is engulfed in a black gooey substance that they call gunk.
Rani, being extremely inquisitive and eager to learn more about the planet, embarks into its depths; what she finds, I leave it for you to discover. The game has a unique 3D blocky art style, and everything here just looks plain cute. From the character models to the environment to the creatures, they all have “adorable” written all over them.
In the gameplay department, the game is incredibly simple. Rani has a power glove attached to her arm that she calls Pumpkin, and you use this power glove to suck up all the gunk you come across and restore the planet to its original state. As you get rid of the gunk, you’ll see that the flora comes back to life and the fauna also emerges. Sucking up the gunk with your power glove is oddly satisfying, and that’s pretty much the main mechanic you’ll be involving yourselves with. As for the planet itself, you’ll be running around jungles, canyons, caves, and more, and each area, though similar in appearance, is visually pleasing. Cute, as I said.
There is some combat here as well, as you’ll be fighting creatures that are corrupted by the gunk, and the truth is told, it’s serviceable but nothing to write home about. The game focuses on puzzle solving and finding your way forward instead of putting you in situations with combat, so the systems they have in place here work very well in the context of the game. Once you get rid of the gunk and clean the environment, you are then free to scan the wildlife and the plants to learn more about the planet. You’ll also be using your power glove to suck up materials that you can take back to camp and use to upgrade your glove, which will allow you to do more things and give you more ways to traverse. In that sense, the game is somewhat of a Metroidvania, somewhat and not fully, so don’t get too excited.
That’s “The Gunk” in a nutshell, and the game’s strengths lies in its presentation and its focus on discovery, exploration, and learning more about the planet and not on combat or replayability, and so on. It’s a short game, and I think it’ll be fair to call it a glorified walking simulator, but don’t let that hinder your judgment of this game. It is incredibly charming, and though it is simple, I’d still say it’s worth checking out for its own brand of uniqueness.
Should You Play ‘The Gunk’?
Usually, my answer is always yes to this question, but this time, I leave it up to you. I have told you what this game is, and the truth be told, there’s nothing about this game that will sell itself to you. The game is adorable, but in terms of gameplay or the story, there’s nothing special about it. It is what it is, and what it is is good if you ask me, but at the same time, for a lot of folks, that’s not reason enough to invest in a new video game. If you ask me, I’d tell you to play this game because despite its simplicity, it’s a memorable one, and I had fun playing through it, but as I said, I leave that decision up to you.
As for the completion, this game is incredibly short and can be beaten in roughly 5–6 hours. Indie games are usually short, so this shouldn’t surprise you, and the game’s length works in its favor; if it were any longer, it’d be overstaying its welcome. Achievement hunters, this is another easy completion that can be 100% completed in the aforementioned 5-6 hours, as there are only a couple of achievements that ask you to do something out of the ordinary, which can be done as you play the story, and the achievements for this game are really easy.
“The Gunk” is available for $24.99 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC and is also included with Xbox Game Pass, and I’d say it’s a perfect Game Pass title, so if you are a subscriber, check it out; you’ll have a good time. “The Gunk’s” simplicity is not a detriment if you ask me, but at the same time, there is nothing special or exceptional about it either. It’s simply a game, a work of art that may resonate with you (like it did with me), or you may find it bland.
See more: Indie Game Spotlight: ‘Echo Generation’ – Should You Play The Game?