The Gunk Review – Science Fiction Adventures With Vacuum Power Tested

The Gunk Test – a colorful vacuum cleaner adventure in a dirty outer space – Game Review

The Gunk Test - buntes Staubsauger-Adventure im Weltraum [Game Review]
The Gunk Test
colorful vacuum cleaner adventure
in a dirty outer space
Game Review

In the action adventure game The Gunk from the Steamworld developers Image and Form, we save a sci-fi world from terrifying dirt and goo. In this review I show The Gunk gameplay, we solve puzzles and jump and run passages.

I show PC Test Game play the PC Game Pass version, but the game also came out for XBox One and Series X/S, the release was 12/16/21.

German Version:

Switch Dark / Light Mode:


This post is available here as text, but also as YouTube Video (German Voice-Over, English Subtitles). So you can choose how you like to enjoy it most.

The Gunk Review Video

German Voice-Over, many subtitles

The Gunk Test - buntes Staubsauger-Adventure im Weltraum [Game Review Deutsch-German many subtitles]

The Gunk Review – Intro

Hi there, this is the Zap. In this The Gunk Review, you get a little insight into the sci-fi action-adventure game with puzzle elements, jump’n’run passages, and lots of sticky slime. I’ll tell you how it is played, what’s inside, and at the end, you’ll get a rating from me. But most of all, I want to give you all the info, so you can decide for yourself if you might enjoy the game.

The Gunk is developed by Image and Form and published by Thunderful. The team has previously developed the Steamworld series of games. I received a free trial key, my thanks for that. However, this should not affect my review, as I always test all games with the thought in the back of my mind, how would I feel if I had paid full price.

The Gunk – Gameplay – Characters and Story

The Gunk Test
Story and Characters
The Gunk Test
Story and Characters

In a distant future, long after humanity has completely destroyed the Earth, people live scattered in space. Corporations rule, and the most important resource is energy to power the spaceships.

Our main heroine Rani travels through space with her friend Becks and the somewhat confused cooking robot Curt to find energy reserves. Their spaceship Dust Bunny isn’t far from the junkyard, but Becks is doing her best to keep the old tub airworthy.

Rani lost her right hand a long time ago and now wears a mechanical power glove instead, which she affectionately calls Pumpkin. Sometimes, when she’s alone on her travels, she’ll start talking to it. Otherwise, she likes to chat on the radio with Becks, at least when they’re not angry at each other for a change.

We experience the entire story from Rani’s point of view, and most of the time we are alone. Sometimes we return to the spaceship and can have brief conversations with the other characters there as well. But the main story is almost always integrated into the gameplay and takes place as radio conversations while running around or sometimes as cutscenes.

Game Type – Action-Adventure

The Gunk Review
Game Type Action-Adventure
The Gunk Review
Game Type Action-Adventure

In The Gunk we travel through a colorful science fiction world, solving all sorts of puzzles along the way. Besides, we use our mechanical power glove to suck up a pollution called “gunk” with a vacuum cleaner.

This mud has contaminated the whole planet and whenever we have removed it in a certain area, nature grows back and an enormously pretty world emerges from the previously black and red contamination. In the process, new bridges, climbing vines or mushrooms often grow, which then help us to progress further in the level.

We scan our environment to gain experience, which unlocks new upgrades for our glove. However, we don’t get these upgrades, such as faster vacuuming, better shots, lures, or simply more stamina, right away. We must first gather plenty of resources and then return to our spaceship so we can craft them at the workbench.

The world is divided into separate maps that we gradually explore, clean, uncover their secrets and advance in the story. We can place teleport markers at some points and then use fast travel to get to the spaceship and back again.

At first the environment is contaminated, but still quite peaceful. But as time goes on, we also get to deal with various alien monsters. These are not often defeated by shooting, but mostly by somewhat more complex tactics.

Some we have to suck in with our glove and throw them down on the ground, with others we have to catch their projectile, throw it back at them specifically to stun them, and then quickly pluck them out of the ground. With again others, we have to dodge their dangerous rush attacks and then get into their backs to “suck” their energy out of a sensitive spot.

The world is thereby quite linear, the order of the cards is almost always exactly given. However, most of the maps are designed for it also really varied. And the puzzles and combination puzzles offered there as well as bouncing tasks stimulate the head.

Tech, Graphics, Sound

The Gunk Game
Tech, Graphics, Sound
The Gunk Game
Tech, Graphics, Sound

The Gunk was developed using the Unreal Engine 4. The graphics are mostly nice and high quality. However, on my mid-range PC, there were stutters from time to time, especially in the cutscenes, for example when riding an elevator through a larger level. In these situations, the FPS sometimes dropped to 15 or even lower.

The textures and animations are nice, and the design of the characters and levels is upper middle class, in some areas even better. What I didn’t like as much were the very stiff faces. Although the characters have something similar to lip movements when they look into the camera while talking, there is otherwise no emotion on their faces at all.

The soundtrack for The Gunk is good. The music is quite nice as well. But I especially liked the actual game sounds, like monster screams, mud bubbling, gunshot noises. These things sounded really great and that added quite a bit to the atmosphere.

The story of The Gunk is told entirely with English voice acting, and the voice actors really went out of their way to portray the characters convincingly. In addition, there are subtitles and menus in numerous languages, including German. The translation here is of high quality.

The Gunk Screenshots InGame

Click or tap into the image for a larger view.
In the enlarged view, you can scroll right and left on the edges

The Gunk Test – Opinion and Conclusion

The Gunk Test
Opinion and Conclusion
The Gunk Test
Opinion and Conclusion

The Gunk was released back in mid-December 21 for XBox One and Xbox Series X and S. It’s also available for PC in the XBox Store and Windows Store as well. It costs €24.99 or the same $24.99. It is also included in Gamepass from the start, but this will certainly not last forever.

As a PC gamer, I’m really having trouble getting comfortable with the Windows Store and also just the same with the PC Xbox app. Out of all the PC gaming platforms, this is, unfortunately, the most inconvenient, bulky, and worst user experience. The features offered are also very, very limited. This is not the fault of this game or its developers, but even so, the gameplay experience suffers somewhat due to the poor Microsoft Store.

There are also technical problems, for example with the savegames. So I got stuck once, either because I could maneuver the character into a dead-end or because an event didn’t trigger. Regrettably, there is only one overall save, which permanently autosaves to three slots in turn. And since I spent some time looking for a solution to the issue, all three slots were then overwritten with this defective save game. So going back was not possible either, I had to start from the beginning.

In addition, the game saves the save games in really confusing places on the hard drive. And even if you manually make copies to back up your savegame for emergencies, or possibly keep multiple playthroughs, the cloud save sync throws a wrench in the works.

Because this simply always writes the cloud savegame over local savegames without asking when the game starts. So if you really want to do something with multiple save games here, the only thing that helps is to disconnect from the internet while playing The Gunk. This is extremely inconvenient and quite annoying.

But enough complaining for now, because The Gunk also has many nice and positive sides. Especially the many varied variations and combinations of puzzles are really well done. Also, the story is quite exciting, the protagonists are nice characters, but could perhaps benefit from more depth.

The level design is based on a before and after the technique. At first, everything is mud-infested and painted black-red-gray, and you gradually replace this as you play with a beautiful plant world consisting mainly of rich green and yellow tones with lots of colorful splashes of color.

The tactical dirt vacuuming is fun. You really get a sense that you’re healing a sick world, at least to some extent. And often this is not just a means to an end, but has a tactical function in many puzzles and battles.

The fights are unusual in that they are never actually solved with shooting. The weapon is only good for operating switches from a distance, shooting down seeds, or maybe for a stun once in a while.

In conclusion, however, I have to say that overall The Gunk seemed far too short to me. The fun of the game is mostly in exploring and finding solutions to the puzzles, and once you know where and how to advance, there is little of interest in replaying later.

Because you do experience a very well-done story in a fancy world, but since it only brings 5-6 hours of gameplay and the replay value of the game is unfortunately almost non-existent, the price doesn’t fit for me.

Even AAA-quality titles with such a short playtime would be criticized, I think. And The Gunk, while stable and exciting, is just, when it gets high, AA, at times it seems more like an indie game.

If I imagine I had paid close to 25 euros for this, I think I would have been dissatisfied or even disappointed. The game certainly works very, very well for Gamepass users. But as a full-price retail game, I think it’s rather a bit disappointing and too expensive.

The Gunk Review – Rating

For a game that XBox or PC Gamepass users have included in their subscription price anyway, The Gunk is really great and a special and exciting adventure. Here I would like to start with a base rating of 85%.

For minor technical flaws, such as stutters and a little user-friendly savegame system, I would like to deduct 3% here.

Should you not be a Gamepass subscriber, however, I think the price of The Gunk is extremely too high. With about 5 hours of gameplay to set a price of 25 euros or dollars, that’s just too much, in my eyes. In this case, I would like to apply a significant 15% devaluation for this pricing.

This brings me to a split final score of 82% for Gamepass players and 67% if you pay full price. Since the game and its development are probably finished for now, I don’t see any real chance for a later upgrade through patches. If the price is possibly indifferent to you, or it should be lowered with time, the deduction falls away, and then it is definitely recommendable.

The Gunk Review
Rating with numbers - Game Pass 82 percent - fullprice 67 percent
The Gunk Review
Rating with numbers – Game Pass 82 percent – fullprice 67 percent

The Gunk

Zap from ZapZockt.de

The Gunk Test - buntes Staubsauger-Adventure im Weltraum [Game Review]
The Gunk Test – a colorful vacuum cleaner adventure in a dirty outer space – Game Review
In the action-adventure game The Gunk from the Steamworld developers Image and Form, we save a sci-fi world from terrifying dirt and goo. In this review I show The Gunk gameplay, we solve puzzles and jump and run passages.

This rating is split in two, the value shown below only applies to the PC Game Pass version. For the full price title there was a deduction, see text.
Action-Adventure Fun
Graphics
Sound
Technical Condition
Scope
Fun to Price Ratio (Game Pass Only, for full price more like 1 star)

Rating

For a game that XBox or PC Gamepass users have included in their subscription price anyway, The Gunk is really great and a special and exciting adventure. Here I would like to start with a base rating of 85%.
For minor technical flaws, such as stutters and a little user-friendly savegame system, I would like to deduct 3% here.
Should you not be a Gamepass subscriber, however, I think the price of The Gunk is extremely too high. With about 5 hours of gameplay to set a price of 25 euros or dollars, that’s just too much, in my eyes. In this case, I would like to apply a significant 15% devaluation for this pricing.
This brings me to a split final score of 82% for Gamepass players and 67% if you pay full price. Since the game and its development are probably finished, for now, I don’t see any real chance for a later upgrade through patches. If the price is possibly indifferent to you, or it should be lowered with time, the deduction falls away, and then it is definitely recommendable.

4.1

Outro

Do you like saving a world from environmental collapse and challenging your mind with appealing combination puzzles? Or is the high price and lots of bouncing not for you? Feel free to write me your opinion in the comments or in the Community Discord at https://zapzockt.de/discord

More gaming news, game reviews, and guides can be found on the YouTube channel or at https://zapzockt.de – thumbs click, subscribe and share with friends certainly can’t hurt and then I wish you a great day, ciao ciao, your Zap

The Gunk im Xbox Store
Image and Forms – Developer Website
The Gunk at Thunderful
Ultra Wide Patch The Gunk


Reading – recommendations:

A lot of detailed game news and information about games and gaming can always be found here at ZapZockt.de – As a Steam user, you can also follow the ZapZockt Steam curator to always be informed about my reviews directly on the platform.

There are also many game reviews that might interest you, and if you don’t want to miss anything, subscribe to the newsletter. As a Google News reader you can also go there and read the latest articles.

Shopping – Tip:

Ad / Affiliate Link
Games can often be bought cheaper. Legal, reliable and safe is the way to do it at my partner site Gamesplanet. This game, all DLCs, many more tactics, strategy, and many more titles are available there and almost always much cheaper than at Steam, Uplay, Epic, or other shops.

Steam Keys günstig kaufen - Buy steam keys cheap - Game keys Spiele Keys
Buy games cheaper

For every purchase, via this link, I receive a small commission. So you get games cheaper and at the same time support my work, my thanks in advance for that.

Social Media:


scroll to top - nach oben