The Gunk - made by the Steamworld developers.

What can they update that would need that much space? Or was it the kind of update where they did a few bug fixes but then made you download the whole game again? (I’ve already uninstalled it, so I don’t recall how big the entire game was.)

I played through it over a couple of evenings, and my total played time was probably around 6 hours or so. I uninstalled it once I finished because it doesn’t seem like the kind of game I’d be likely to replay, so I can’t look at my save game file for the exact number.

That said, my impressions mostly mirror @forgeforsaken’s. The game was very linear, none of the puzzles were particularly challenging, and dealing with the gunk didn’t feel particularly satisfying. I had all the upgrades well before the end of the game, so there was never really any need to go hunting for materials… that is, I never had to go out of my way or backtrack for anything.

I enjoyed the game well enough for what it was, but I probably wouldn’t have bought it otherwise.

So I really enjoyed this. Took me just over 10 hours, but I went for 100% completion (and you know what, I missed one collectible resource somewhere on one of the maps, and just fell short of that last upgrade, aargh). I found the main gunk cleaning mechanic to be quite satisfying, mostly because you get this awesome transformation of each area from ashen to full of life, changing the layout and traversal options. Really it was mostly about exploration and traversal, not much combat at all until nearer the end. It was also pretty easy, the final boss was a pushover (I put the controller down at one point to have a sip of coffee).

Really my main criticism is that they could have done even more with the design they had. The final area was easily the best part of the game because the devs pulled out all the stops and starting throwing more challenging puzzles and combat situations at you. And then… it was over. Still, better for a game to be too short than outstay its welcome, though I could easily have played on. Looked really nice, good level design, and cool little story and characters, though they did lay the environmental metaphor on a bit too thick.

How is that even possible? I cleared every single area of every single thing (which amused me given the pro-environmental focus of the story!), and I was 4 units of flora short of getting all upgrades. I obviously missed something, but there wasn’t much if any leeway. I was only able to unlock the last two at the checkpoint immediately before the final boss.

Bear in mind the more you scan the more upgrades you unlock. Some of the scans were sneaky (eg. the final boss) leading to 16 upgrades in total. I got the full encyclopedia achievement and so needed more resources to get every upgrade.

Ahhh, this is probably it then. I probably did miss a bunch of scans. I don’t recall how many I had by the end, but I’m certain it wasn’t 16.

That said, I never once felt underpowered throughout the whole game.

I thought this was one of the most mediocre, 5/10 games I ever finished. Nothing about it stood out at all, but nothing about it was actively bad either.

I’ve been enjoying the Gunk Mechanic too. It makes me think that maybe I’ll enjoy a Ghostbuster game or the Luigi’s Mansion games, or maybe a vacuum cleaning game.

I’m only about 3-4 hours into the game so far. I felt like I was lost on where to go next with the third part of the bridge that has to be turned for me to move on, but I finally cracked that one.

I feel like a few games have done this recently, Kena was one and I thought it looked cooler there.

Another would be Concrete Genie from a couple years ago, which is closer to The Gunk in gameplay, and I thought was also a much more interesting game, paintng was more fun and engaging than sucking up Gunk.
You can see a transition at around 1:20 in the trailer

It kind of felt like they didn’t realize their full vision with this, didn’t it? For instance, the robot never does anything. Again, I enjoyed my time with it, but it felt like they could have done a little more.

Yes, that’s the impression I got too. Limited by time / budget perhaps, with elements that didn’t really contribute to the whole, but could have done with a greater scope.

That looks cool, PS4 only explains why I missed it. The Gunk clearing started working better nearer the end, they started using it as a barrier to elements within and between rooms, where you had to be more inventive in how you cleared it, and with a lot more active aggressive behaviour, plus throwing in other enemies. That’s when it finally started to really work well, but then it ended!

My son only knows two things about games so far.



“The Gunk”.

Usually I play Mario with him, and he sometimes comes upstairs and sees me playing The Gunk and sits on my lap for a few minutes before I quit out when I reach the next area.

Yesterday instead of Mario he kept insisting on “The Gunk”. So I fired up the Xbox and used the cloud gaming feature to play this on the Xbox One on the big TV.

It’s amazing how much more kid friendly this game is compared to Mario. In Mario Odyssey he’s constantly just falling to his death, losing 10 coins, respawning, falling to his death literally 2 seconds later, respawning, falling to his death. Whenever he takes over the controls, I lose a LOT of coins.

In the Gunk, he falls off the ledge, and it just respawns him back on the ledge. Heehee.

Put them together and you get Super Mario Sunshine.

Yes, this game is super forgiving of death. I don’t mind it at all. :)

Where is Tom, this game has default Chick difficulty!

I reached “The Garden”. A really great example of environmental and audio story-telling and atmosphere.


It’s the section where the two main characters are mad at each other, so there’s suddenly no “voice on the phone” for comfort, while for the first time the protagonist goes into a new type of environment that’s really creepy and different. I just had this intense feeling of unease through a series of rooms, where they played this low rumbling string instrument soundtrack in the background. Very subtle. From a reductionist perspective, absolutely nothing actually happened in this sequence. I didn’t solve any puzzles, I didn’t shoot anything, I didn’t suck up any gunk, I didn’t talk to anyone, all I did was move the thumbstick forward from room to the next. And yet, it was great.

I checked my play time and I’m at about 6.5 hours now, and it feels very close to the end. The puzzles are much harder when my son is driving the controls. He doesn’t know about moving the camera but he insists on being in control, so it’s maddening to keep repeating “look around the room”, when I know there’s a puzzle. When you can’t look around the room, the puzzles are impossible in this game! Impossible!

Did you swap the thumbstick controls too, or just the A and B buttons. ;)

No swapping on Xbox!

The whole point of swapping on the Switch is so that he gets used to saying yes to things with the bottom face button and backing out of things (or saying no) using the right face button. Xbox and Playstation already do that, so Switch is the only one where I remap.

I’m just teasing, I would probably do the same as it can be pretty confusing. But not being able to look up and see parts of the puzzle solution directly above you would be challenging.

Have you reached the tower yet?

Yes, it’s my second time in “The Garden”. That’s where the puzzles are hard.

Ah yes, you’re on the home run for sure. I remember getting stumped a couple of times in there, but the solutions were always “oh of course”.

I finished the Gunk tonight! Yay!

Sadly, it looks like I still had 2 things unscanned. And I needed one more metal to get the final upgrade, so I couldn’t get that.

Excellent game though. A light story with nice characters, great vacuum cleaner gameplay, nice challenging puzzles, especially at the end. And they didn’t overstay their welcome, a month and a half, and boom, I’m already finished. That’s how games should be.