Amanita Design‘s point-and-click adventure game CHUCHEL brings back over-the-top weirdness and adds some quirky puzzle fun.
The indie developer has released quite a few strange games with unique characters and environments that feel organically related to our world, but are still different enough to get lost in. Three Samorost games later, a Machinarium sci-fi departure, and again a return to plant life with Botanicula showed that the studio always had a penchant for animated art and storytelling that didn’t rely on words, but on pictures in speech bubbles, while the exploration/click-on-anything-on-screen plus some logic puzzle mix made it casual-gamer friendly. The newest title continues that tradition, but comes across as a circus show of slapstick fun instead of a more contemplative experience.
Being promoted as a comedy adventure game, this change in tone might not be surprising, and maybe it’s a brave turning point for the company. Of course their former games have always been accessible to younger players, as they weren’t really dark, but simply weird in their art direction. If one still remembers the great LocoRoco PSP titles, one will feel familiar with the strange-looking balls of hair singing and jumping around. Despite the gameplay still relying on screen-to-screen puzzles and mini-games, one still can’t help but be reminded of those Sony games that raised a smile because of their cheerful tunes. If I’m completely honest, I’m still a bit skeptic about the whole game, as the trailer hit me like a hammer of look-at-me-I’m-so-weird impressions, as if the developers wanted to emphasize how funny their new world with hairy hero Chuchel is. But maybe there are some memorable worlds to explore and strange characters to meet as in the previous adventure titles. After all, it’s still Amanita Design, and as far as animation and colorful creature design goes, the presentation doesn’t disappoint.
The game is out now on PC and will be released on iOS and Android devices soon. Additionally, it’s possible to buy the original soundtrack and art book or the Cherry Edition which offers the game and digital extras in one package.
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