Chuchel is a youngsters’s cartoon dressed up as a degree and click on journey. Scene after scene, the participant helps a ball of hair and their rodent-like rival get again their beloved cherry, just for it to be taken away once more. It’s the most recent from Amanita Design, the small Czech studio chargeable for the Samorost , in addition to Machinarium and Botanicula. That final title is the one to concentrate to right here – Botanicula’s lead designer, Jaromír Plachý, has one other flip on the helm with Chuchel, and it likewise options the gloriously twee psych-folk stylings of the band DVA. However, Chuchel represents a slight however noticeable change of tack for Amanita: it’s unapologetically the best, lightest and most child-friendly of their incessantly cute-in-appearance however robust beneath catalogue. It’s the primary to essentially cross territory from “a game that looks like it could be for children” to “a game that is actually for children.” Depending on the place you sit – maybe whether or not or not you might be or have a toddler – this might imply it’s both good or one thing you would possibly need to move on.
Progression via the Game is a combined bag of easy tips. The participant finds the answer by clicking characters and objects, selecting actions, fixing the occasional environmental puzzle. There could be very little merchandise gathering. Sometimes the scene is as simple as clicking the one clickable object again and again, seeing a collection of gags spill out till it cycles to the answer. There’s additionally the occasional minig-ame – little spoofs/tributes to your Pacmans and Tetris’, in addition to equally acquainted if much less particularly pop-cultural actions like a rotating maze and a snail race.
It’s largely simple enjoyable for everybody. The puzzles (as typically with Amanita’s ) are unapologetically trial and error in nature, and a bit unintuitive. Fortunately, this works to the Game’s benefit, as loads of enjoyment in Chuchel comes from simply testing each possibility and appreciating no matter joke comes out of it. This setup has its limitations. I imply, there’s solely so many occasions a personality getting squished inexplicably or raging out could be humorous. Also in among the longer puzzles the place it’s a must to rearrange and manipulate a number of totally different props accurately, the jokes dry up totally, and the method will get a bit tedious.
Chuchel takes its cues largely from TV, and the recurring construction feels previous and embedded in Saturday afternoons of one other time and place. While that is nostalgic for me, for the Game it’s largely practical, justifying a segmented construction and an absence of developed plot. Backgrounds are largely clean, faintly graded brown or plain off-white, making most objects within the Game seem to be props on a TV-set. There’s hardly ever a way of continuity. The Game is sort of a collection of skits the place the ball of hair and the rodent compete (or generally work ) to get the cherry again from whoever occurs to be standing of their manner (e.g. a tree, a big mould of jelly, a yeti, a workforce of weary toilet utensils). Much because it was in cartoons of yore, typically there’s little rationalization as to why and the way the characters lose the cherry between eventualities, past an intervening hand that reaches from above to grab it and transfer the motion alongside.
Despite the naked backgrounds it in any other case appears nice. Scenes are well-worked minimalist design, with beautiful shiny colors, little litter, few issues to erroneously spend vitality optimistically clicking on. Cartoony bizarre creature design has at all times been considered one of Amanita’s nice strengths, and right here that is taken to a different stage as the Game sprints via a bucketful of unusual, humorous and half-familiar NPCs. The quaint, energetic music of DVA acts as an amazing foil to the incoherent mumblings that stand in for dialogue, propping up a very non-verbal journey. There’s one thing warming about seeing this type of factor come successfully.
The Game walks that tough rope of getting qualities that us adult-folk would possibly recognize whereas nonetheless being basically for youths. The humour is endearing however good-natured, leaning on bodily comedy and situations of the bizarre and sudden. I genuinely laughed out loud a very good dozen occasions, which isn’t a foul consequence for a Game that solely takes a few hours to get via. On the opposite hand, I discovered it robust to play for greater than half an hour at a stretch, simply as I most likely wouldn’t need to marathon two hours of Tom & Jerry.
Still, I’ve lengthy been a sucker for Amanita’s present for efficient storytelling via aesthetic world-building, so I can’t assist however admit a little bit of disappointment that right here neither world nor story is far of a consideration. In the previous they’ve been glorious at creatively upending notions of the acquainted and unusual. Here with the studio-like Game setting, the world feels much less speedy, the construction extra front-and-center, and so the adventuring feels inconsequential. I perceive why Chuchel must be like this, and in some methods, it truly is the purest expression of design that Amanita have made up to now. But it comes with limitations, and I really feel prefer it’s tough to wholesale advocate.
Chuchel is completely a Game you would possibly need to choose up in case you have younger youngsters, or if you would like a few hours of excellent, unbridled cartoon humour. It’s in any other case not important. Fans of Amanita’s different could discover one thing to love right here, but additionally one thing missing. For others, give your time to Amanita’s older titles first, significantly Botanicula and the Samorost collection. These showcase the same vein of creativity and humour to Chuchel however are total extra affecting and rewarding, if not fairly as thematically or functionally child-friendly.