The Gunk follows duo Rani and Beck, who search for precious energy in space to become filthy rich. At some point, they come across a planet contaminated with a black sticky substance called Gunk. From that moment on, I set out to discover what exactly is happening on this planet.
The game attempts to tell a story centered around the relationship between the two main characters, with wireless being the only way the plot unfolds. However, the mediocre voice acting ensures that the immersion isn’t quite there. Much of the voice acting is incomprehensible gibberish being translated into English as you play, which makes following the story quite a challenge. Cutscenes’ footage, especially the facial animation, is so animated that emotions aren’t apparent. No more space travelers are looking for energy to make a lot of money.
The player controls Rani, who has a mechanical glove that allows her to suck things up. The Gunk is so harmful to nature that all places stained with it completely die. When things suck, the environment turns into a verdant whole and you can, for example, use cultivated mushrooms to continue your way around the planet
This journey of discovery is central to The Gunk, but this journey is not at all secretly exciting. The game is as linear as possible, and discovering things for yourself is not in it. You don’t find out things until the game wants you to find them. In fact, The Gunk consists of stationary levels glued together, and it’s also not spacious – you’ve got every corner in no time.
This does not mean that the environments do not look good. When you suck up all the junk, transforming the environment is a highlight over and over again. Graphically, they are quite good, but unfortunately there is little difference in the environments. The animation is also very mediocre. The facial animation in particular looks like it came straight out of a PlayStation 2 game, which is a shame.
Also, the textures on Xbox Series X load very late when entering a new area and sometimes suddenly drop through platforms. In short: the experience does not look polished at all. These are of course issues that can be fixed with patches, but the version I ran was not technically perfect. Plus, the version I ran doesn’t support HDR, which is a crazy choice for a game with so many bright colors.
Anyway, The Gunk looks quite old. Aside from absorbing Gunk, it doesn’t do anything new at all and even this isn’t a special mechanism. On top of that, it captures some of the mechanics that we’ve seen hundreds of times in other games. This way you collect materials along the way that you can use to upgrade your mechanical gauntlet and you can place fast travel beacons at certain points. You can also scan objects in the environment and keep a record of your discoveries.
In terms of gameplay, The Gunk is a dime-a-dozen game that does not offer anything interesting in terms of gameplay. That’s not to say that Gunk sucking isn’t entertaining at first, but it doesn’t last long. As the end of the game approaches, it becomes a mandatory number that you are not satisfied with. Reusing mechanics we’ve known for a long time isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for a new game it feels pretty old. You do nothing more than scavenge and sow seeds, suck on ginkgo and drop bombs. So The Gunk feels like a polished PlayStation 2 game.
The difficulty level doesn’t really help make it a fun ride either. Of the four meager types of enemies that you will encounter, none of them will be difficult to defeat. The mechanical gauntlet is so overpowered that every fight is a piece of cake. For example, an enemy shoots projectiles at you, but you can absorb them from the air without difficulty. Interesting bosses would have been a nice way to make combat more fun, but they’re actually missing out. The bosses you meet will die in a wind and will not be an obstacle.
Environmental puzzles are also very simple. You will always find the solution at a glance and the necessary items will always be at hand, coincidentally. This makes The Gunk a game that you can beat without thinking in five hours, without challenging for a moment. It’s even a mystery to me whether or not there is a Game Over screen. This makes the exploration journey boring, because there is no real danger or depth. Funny, while absorbing Gunk isn’t all that hard, he’s kind of satisfying and satisfying to take back the entire planet.
In addition, the low level of difficulty is not only negative. The levels are put together in such a way that you never get lost, and this shows an amazing level design. However, for seasoned players, the journey of exploration is a completely unforgettable one. You don’t really discover anything on your own. When you search all corners of the levels, you will be rewarded with items that you can actually find in abundance everywhere. There are simply no nice surprises or secrets.
The game is very suitable for a target group of young people or for people who have little gaming experience. The crafting and other mechanics are very basic and therefore a good game for beginners to less experienced players.
There is almost nothing to complain about about the controls, which are almost perfect and ensure you always have control of the character. However, sometimes the screen is so full of Gunk that you can’t see your character anymore. This does cause a slight irritation, but luckily it doesn’t happen often and also has a job somewhere, because you’re really covered in mud.
The Gunk is an unforgettable journey of discovery. It certainly wouldn’t hurt your game experience via Xbox Game Pass, but there’s nothing quite like an amazing new Xbox IP. It’s not really doing anything wrong, but it’s not doing anything right either.
“Twitter junkie. Lifelong communicator. Award-winning analyst. Subtly charming internetaholic.”