Game Review: The Gunk (Xbox Series X)

From developer Image & Form (SteamWorld Dig/SteamWorld Heist) and publisher Thunderful Publishing comes The Gunk. An enjoyable 3D platformer/adventure game released exclusively on the Xbox.

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Rani & Becks are two ‘down on their luck’ space explorers looking for resources to harvest and sell to pay off their mounting debts. By chance, they come across a mysterious planet and decide to land on it to check it out. A risk, as their ship is on its last legs, that pays off as they find a planet that is teeming with resources.

Everything seems great, until Rani comes across some sort of substance which they dub ‘gunk’ that appears to be infecting the entire planet. Not only that, it appears as though this place was once inhabited.

Players take control of Rani throughout the game with Becks staying with the ship and being the voice of reason on the radio. As Rani, players will find themselves in a comfortable world of 3D platforming and action-adventuring. Follow the linear path, solve puzzles, platform and deal with enemies. All while using Rani’s special vacuum to suck up and destroy the gunk.

It’s gameplay that is easy to get to grips with and there’s something so satisfying about removing all the gunk from an area and seeing it heal. Plant life returning and new areas unlocking on what is an impressive looking alien planet.

In addition to that goal, as well as finding out what actually happened to its people, you will be resource collecting, crafting upgrades, scanning the environment and planet life to learn more and generally exploring.

All are important for progression. Scanning, for example, unlocks new upgrades and resource collecting gives you the materials to craft them. There’s quite a few too and most are significant enough to warrant you going out of your way to get them. Although, it can’t be ignored that some won’t be unlocked by time you reach the final boss and see the end credits.

Which does bring us to the length of the game.

If you’re single-minded and following the story from A to B, The Gunk will only last around 3-4 hours. If you’re resource collecting and upgrading everything before you see the end game, it might hit 6 hours at most. Bear in mind though, those extra hours are made up of back-tracking as you try to find an elusive piece of metal to finalise your last upgrade.

It’s short, too short really but that doesn’t stop it being an enjoyable experience. For starters, the story is good and reaches an epic crescendo.

The characters, in particular, Rani and Becks are all really memorable and voiced excellently. The music fits the adventure that you’re on and the visuals can be amazing, the planet itself looks beautiful, even if character models are a little off.

The game, overall, is a polished experience with only very minor technical flaws rearing their head. Stuff that is easy to overlook, thanks to the adventurous feeling that it gives throughout. A short but sweet experience that isn’t doing anything new but does enough to stand out.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

The Gunk
  • The Final Score - 7/10
User Review
10/10 (1 vote)