The Gunk takes place on a very colorful, alien planet. You plays as two broke scavengers landing on the planet because of a very high energy spike reading. The scavengers are looking for ways to make money to pay off their debt and the energy reading has the potential to lead to a very profitable discovery for the both of them.
Once they land however, they find the planet infested with a mysterious, bubbling gunk draining the life from everything around it. Thankfully you can use your trusty gauntlet to disperse the gunk and restore life to the planet. Upon removing the gunk, you find a pool of liquid containing a very high amount of energy. One discovery leads to another and you find the remains of an ancient civilization.
The game looks visually stunning. There’s a lot of vibrant colors and some of the vistas are actually breathtaking. A small downside is that while the game looks great, a few areas do tend to have a bit too much visual clutter making it harder to distinguish the paths. Aside from the graphics, the game shows an immense level of polish. The animations and effects look fantastic. The animation of cleaning the gunk is pretty darn satisfying.
The game’s audio design is also very solid. The voice acted lines of dialogue sound natural and the game has a very soothing and chill backing track.
The game feels pretty fun to play. You explore the world and collect crafting materials to upgrade your gauntlet. The level design is pretty linear in The Gunk but it does have minor branching paths that hide additional crafting materials. You clean up the gunk to restore the affected areas, which unlock the pathways. There’s also a light puzzle element to the game as well.
The game throws very easy puzzles at first, involving throwing a plant into the energy pools to grow jump pads. Then the puzzles slowly ramp up by making it harder to get the plants to the energy pool. Once you find the alien ruins, you have much larger and harder puzzles.
Overall, The Gunk is a fun game based on exploration. It has an extremely high level of polish as well. I didn’t know what to expect as always when I go into covering a game and I came out pleasantly surprised. It’s just simple fun.