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Review: CHUCHEL

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Comedy Gold

I can’t say I’ve ever heard of CHUCHEL before I accepted this review. A code appeared for us describing a cool soundtrack and hunting for cherries, but it wasn’t until someone replied saying Amanita Design was behind the game that my interest got piqued. Machinarium is basically comfort food to me, so I had to give this game a try.

I’m very glad I did, too, because CHUCHEL is a quirky, funny, brilliantly paced adventure game that had me smiling every step of the way.

CHUCHEL (PC [reviewed], Android, iOS) 
Developer: Amanita Design
Publisher: Amanita Design 
Released: March 7, 2018 (PC), TBA (Android, iOS)
MSRP: $9.99

Right from the get go, CHUCHEL establishes that this is going to be a minimalist game. You start with a bunch of characters on the screen and a mouse cursor that is begging you to click something. As you begin interacting with the various objects, the game is subtly teaching you the mechanics behind how you’ll be interacting with this unique world.

CHUCHEL takes place on individual screens containing puzzles. Some are as simple as just clicking everything while others require you to do things in a specific order to progress. In between the main puzzle screens are various mini-games like a light platformer, recreations of arcade classic games, and even just straight comedy bits.

What got me is just how distinct each screen is and how often CHUCHEL varies up its gameplay. You’re never just stuck doing the same kind of puzzles and even the more action-oriented bits all focus on some different element of platforming. CHUCHEL is very family friendly, though, so “failing” doesn’t result in a game over or even much in the way of lost progress. You just get reset and try again.

Oddly, I felt that it played similar to something like Zoombinis more than a traditional adventure game. While you aren’t learning anything educational, this feels exactly like the kind of stuff Humongous Entertainment and Broderbund used to put out in their heyday. Zany characters, great graphics, and tons of fun are the order of the day and CHUCHEL has that in spades.

The “plot” focuses on some fuzzy critter (named Chuchel) and a mouse-like animal (named Kekel) trying to nab a cherry from some giant hand. Throughout the course of the journey, Chuchel and Kekel form a sort of frenemy relationship that gives way to a lot of humorous scenes where your character will lose the cherry and scream in anger. CHUCHEL is kind of like a Tom & Jerry cartoon with how the interactions between the two main characters unfold.

As mentioned by Amanita Design, a lot of the charm of CHUCHEL relies in being surprised by the different screens. Without spoiling anything, expect to see a chase scene, a random song number, some Raving Rabbids like screaming, and lots of physical violence. That isn’t to say CHUCHEL is graphic or anything, but your main character gets smashed a couple of times from some overly large objects.

This is all complemented by an art style that looks reminiscent of 1990s Nickelodeon cartoons. I got some distinct Ren & Stimpy vibes from how everything is drawn. Characters are expressive and speak with some form of gibberish that is hilarious to listen to. The soundtrack is also really excellent, which makes the comedy bits even stronger.

Since this game is more focused on trying to provide entertainment above being a strict mind bender, there is a generous hint system that will pop up if you’re stuck on a screen for too long. While I’m surprised at just how revealing the hints are, getting a small nudge in the direction of a solution certainly helps maintain CHUCHEL's wonderful pacing.

I didn’t expect the game to be long, but I sat down and finished this in a single sitting. Clocking in roughly 110 minutes, it's basically a feature length film about the hardships of losing a cherry that you’ve fallen in love with. There is absolutely no fluff in this game and every screen feels important.

The only way the game falters is that solutions are sometimes too simplistic for their own good. I know that CHUCHEL is more a comedy than a game, but when you’re mindlessly clicking and happen to come about the solution, it doesn’t feel as rewarding as the more structured puzzles. There are also a few objects where different interactions amount to nothing apart from a quick gag, which could have been streamlined a bit.

Trying to find fault in CHUCHEL, though, is a pretty pointless endeavor. The game sets out with a simple goal, achieves it beautifully, and doesn’t waste your time getting its point across. I don’t really know how much better this could get. I suppose $10 might be a bit much for some to swallow, but CHUCHEL is a great experience that is definitely worth a whirl.

If nothing else, it made me want to watch some Tom & Jerry again, so that is worth something.

[This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Chuchel reviewed by Peter Glagowski

9

SUPERB

A hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage.
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Peter Glagowski
Peter GlagowskiAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Plucked right from the DToid community (formerly KingSigy), Peter is an aspiring writer with a passion for gaming and fitness. If you can't find him in front of a game, you'll most likely find hi... more + disclosures


 




 


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