The Gunk, launch trailer for the new game from the Steamworld authors

The Gunk, launch trailer for the new game from the Steamworld authors

The Gunk

The Gunk, the new game created by Image & Form, the authors of the Steamworld series, is shown with the inevitable launch trailer a few hours after its release on PC, Xbox Series X | S and Xbox One.

If you have read our review of The Gunk, you will know that it is a project that starts with some good ideas, but only puts a few into practice and is instead mediocre in many of its aspects.

"It would be unfair to call The Gunk a misstep for Image & Form. Overall it is a sufficient title, ruined by an overly staid (albeit at times relaxing) pace and an excessively guided progression ", wrote Aligi Comandini in his article.

An opinion apparently shared by international newspapers, which gave The Gunk only fair votes. In short, the talented Swedish development team did not manage to realize their vision in the best possible way.

In any case, The Gunk is available at no additional cost for Xbox Game Pass subscribers: try the game there. it will cost nothing and maybe, who knows, its atmospheres and mechanics could win you over.

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‘The Gunk’: Cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore

That snippet of conversation nicely captures the personality of the game’s central characters. Becks is prudent, Rani intrepid. It also sets the stage for the tension that threatens to sour their relationship. As Rani explores the planet and uses her hand tool to remove the gunk she is dazzled to see the environment transform from a dull grayish landscape to one bursting with exotic flora. Eventually, Rani discovers the ruins and relics of a lost civilization and an alien suspended in a tank hooked up to machinery, the purpose of which is a mystery. And while Becks counsels caution, Rani grows more headstrong and dismissive of her partner’s input.

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“The Gunk” is an eco-fable about characters determined to remake the world and the consequences that result from their hubris. Featuring light action sequences (there are gunk monsters) and straightforward puzzle sequences, the game focuses on the pleasures of exploration and tidying up above all else. Stepping into the role of Rani, players spend most of their time cleaning up gunk and searching for “mycelium coils” and “mulligan melons.”

Mycelium coils are round-mushroom heads attached to narrow stems rooted in the ground. Rani can detach them using her tool and then shoot them into the pools of green liquid. This causes mushroom platforms to sprout up so that she can traverse otherwise impossible-to-access areas. Mulligan melons bear a resemblance to the tops of the mycelium coils, but once detached from their surroundings they explode after a short period of time. Rani can use these to clear away out-of-reach clusters of gunk. Most of the puzzles revolve around the use of these two substances. Save for one moment late in the game where I missed cleaning up a tiny amount of gunk that prevented me from uncovering a resource, I was able to complete the story without much effort.

Sure, on the face of it, a game centered around cleaning up gunk might not sound like an interesting diversion. But it works thanks to the focused nature of the campaign (this is not a game that feels padded out with superfluous content) and because there is something intrinsically satisfying to radically altering the appearance of a landscape.

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