The Gunk is a relaxing and fun sci-fi adventure

With titles like SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Heist, Image and Form’s SteamWorld series has been widely recognized since its inception. After joining the Thunderful Group, the company’s next game, The Gunk, would ditch the 2D graphics of the SteamWorld games in favor of a 3-dimensional platformer/action-adventure game designed exclusively for the Xbox.

Only available on the Xbox video game system. This planet is being terrorized by an evil substance known only as “the goo” by two space travelers named Rani and Becks. Rani and Becks’ relationship is important to the plot, as the two stay in touch frequently during the journey. Even though the game’s animations don’t do them justice, Fiona Nova and Abigail Turner (who play Rani and Becks, respectively), are outstanding in their roles.

The expressions on Rani and Becks’ faces are robotic and emotionless. They seem like puppets, and the actors’ booming voices and expressionless forms create an unintentionally spooky atmosphere in deleted scenes. Because of this, it’s harder to get emotionally invested in the relationship between the major characters.

There aren’t many cutscenes in The Gunk, and the majority of Rani and Becks’ interactions take place during gameplay. Compared to Kena: Bridge of Spirits, which was released earlier this year, The Gunk’s gameplay is clearly influenced by PS2-era platformers. As Rani, the protagonist of The Gunk, players must solve puzzles, execute minor platforming tasks, and fight creatures. There are various uses for Rani’s vacuum, including combat, resource gathering, puzzle solving, and sucking up all of the filth that gets in the way of the game’s storyline.

In The Muck, Rani’s primary goal is to rid the world of the deadly gunk stuff. The removal of all muck from a zone restores its health, allowing the players to continue their fight and kill the last of their opponents. In spite of its lack of interest, cleaning The Gunk’s alien surroundings may be a nice pastime for certain players. In addition to earning crafting materials, clearing up the muck and exploring the region may be rather profitable.

Weapons and armor upgrades may be purchased from the Gunk, which supplies crafting ingredients for players to do so. It’s fun to scan the region and learn more about the weird world Rani and Becks have found themselves in. Scanning the area unlocks additional enhancements.

The Gunk’s upgrades have a function, making scanning things and traversing the game world in search of manufacturing supplies more pleasurable experiences. But there’s a fault in The Gunk’s improvements: the game takes too long. Getting to the end of The Gunk takes about four hours if you include all the bonuses, but it’s closer to three hours if you only want to defeat the final boss. It’s possible to finish The Gunk in only one session, but cleaning it up will take around an hour more.

Since the game only lasts a few hours, players will find that many of the upgrades they get later in the game have little impact. Players will put in the time and effort to scan and gather the resources needed to purchase upgrades, but it won’t be worth it in the end since they won’t be watching the end credits for long. For as much fun as the Gunk is, it’s hard to recommend paying full price for something that ends so abruptly.

Fortunately, The Gunk may be played for free by anyone who wants to try it out. If you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, you may play The Gunk. Due to its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass on day one, The Gunk’s brevity is less of a drawback than it might otherwise be. Forgiving the shortness of a game when you don’t have to pay for it is much simpler.

Aside from its restricted playability, the Gunk has a number of other issues. The Gunk is a largely error-free experience, however certain of the game’s platforms have a problem with it. Organic alien artifacts may be used to create huge plants with leaves that players can use to access new regions in The Gunk. Players will quickly learn to wait an extra second or two after doing so, as the game takes longer than expected to recognize these leaves as platforms. It’s as if these leaves don’t exist, since when The Gunk attempt to jump on them too early, Rani just falls right through them.

In addition to the game’s severe linearity, Gunk players may also find it grating. The Gunk’s ledges are the most obvious illustration of how it expects players to approach the game’s platforming challenges. On her journey into The Gunk, Rani will encounter several ledges on which she is unable to hold on. There’s no reason why the other ledges shouldn’t have been elevated higher to be out of Rani’s reach; unless the developers didn’t want her to be able to grasp on to them, she’ll only hold on to those with yellow markings.

There are several issues with the Gunk’s gameplay, but it’s still a fun way to spend the time. If you’re a fan of PS2-era platformers, you should certainly check out this short but enjoyable excursion on Xbox Game Pass.

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