Review: CHUCHEL (PC)

Developer: Amanita Design
Publisher: Amanita Design
Genre: Adventure
Platform: PC, Android, iOS
Rating: N/A
Price: $9.99

Recently, point and click adventure games have evolved. We can thank the late Telltale Games for that, due to the success of The Walking Dead games. Now, developers such as DONTNOD have adapted that style with games like Life is Strange. But point-and-click adventure games of old still live on in many ways—Syberia and Broken Sword are both still around. From my experience with CHUCHEL, I discovered it lives as a happy medium between those old school and modern styles. I have played some weird indie games, especially the ones with unique art styles. I don’t think I’ve ever played anything as unique and weird as this.

Content Guide

Spiritual Content: In the very beginning of the game, there are ghosts shown on a television.

Violence/Crude Humor: CHUCHEL does not have an ESRB rating at the time of this review. There is no blood or gore, but there is plenty of cartoon violence and crude humor. Two of the characters spend a lot of their time fighting each other and competing over a piece of fruit. You will see characters get attacked, smashed, eaten, cut in half, and much more. Most of this humor is dealt to Chuchel, the main character who at one point even gets bitten in half by a creature. This is the kind of humor you might find in old cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Ren and Stimpy, or Animaniacs. There is also a scene worth mentioning in which Chuchel drink’s an unnamed beverage and pees on various objects.

 

Drug/Alcohol Use: During a particular scene, Chuchel eats a mushroom and has a psychedelic episode from a drug trip for a few moments.

Sexual Content: During one of the gameplay segments, a cloud’s fluff blows away when you shoot at it, revealing a naked fleshy cloud that tries to cover itself up. This section is meant to be humorous, but might still be uncomfortable for some.

Disturbing Images: Some of the creatures in the game are based on real animals, but with a very exaggerated design. For example, one of them has a lid for the top of their head and is filled with water like a bowl. There are many strange creatures in this game that parents might be uncomfortable with.

Review

Like I wrote in the introduction, I don’t think I’ve played anything as weird, strange, or random as CHUCHEL. I can’t go much further into this review without talking about the art style. CHUCHEL looks as if a children’s storybook has come to life. It makes me think of Where the Wild Things Are, which was one of my favorite books at a very young age. It was the strange creatures that quickly captured my attention, and that is what this game will likely do for any children that play it. Though it is chock full of crude humor, it’s the kind that you might find in popular cartoons from various time periods.

Yes, this is a game that can be played by the whole family—even the youngest of children. That isn’t something I can truly say about many of the games that I have covered in the past. CHUCHEL‘s controls are simple enough for anyone to learn. It is played mostly by using a mouse, exactly like a classic point-and-click adventure game. Players will be moving Chuchel around and interacting with everything they possibly can in this strange world. Many of the actions are done through comic bubbles and there are dozens of them during various scenarios. The best way to experience the game is to click on everything. Unlike many popular adventure games, there are no branching paths or big decisions in CHUCHEL. The overall goal of the game is to get the juicy cherry at all costs and that’s it. Chuchel finds himself in all sorts of outlandish scenarios and situations that players must help him out of. Each of these situations is handled scene by scene rather than having to explore some big world open area.

 

The situational humor is the main reason that anyone should play this game. I went into great detail in the content guide on some of the crude humor that you’ll run into, but most of the time it involves Chuchel getting the raw end of the deal. There weren’t any particular moments that had me bursting into laughter, but the brand of humor makes things very entertaining. There were some genuinely funny moments that I enjoyed and the best part is that the developers found a way to make a humorous game without being foul, utilizing clean old school slap-stick comedy. For that reason, this is a game you can play with your kids and likely have a great time.

Some of my favorite moments in the game are the various references made to other games. There is a moment where Chuchel’s world is visited by an alien lifeform. At this moment, it is up to the player to find out what kind of weapon or tool is going to drive them away. I cheered audibly when Chuchel drew a lightsaber with sound effects and all. Another great example is when a player must play through three short mini-games that are based on three of the most popular arcade games on the planet. Those types of references are appreciated and work as a great device to engage a variety of ages.

One thing you’ll notice about the game is that it has a very minimalist approach. There isn’t much text, aside from the title of the game. Even Chuchel’s thought bubbles I mentioned earlier are expressed through small images. The characters don’t speak any legible language either; it’s some kind of gibberish that reminds me of the way characters talk in The Sims.

This game aims to please the visual and audio senses of every player that sits down to play it. The soundtrack does well to accompany that approach and has a rhythm that can leave you entranced until you either snap out of it or finish the game.  The short gameplay experience lasts only a few hours as well, but It makes for a nice pallet cleanser if you’ve been sinking double digits into big recent releases.

While CHUCHEL is a game that has sadly been overshadowed by this year’s biggest releases, it’s not a game that completely blew my mind either. Some of the situational puzzles threw off the pacing and caused a bit of a rollercoaster effect. Various scenarios slowed things down to a crawl, while others were fast-paced and engaging. This pacing also caused me to play over the course of two or three nights when a game of this length should easily be completed in one sitting. This feels like the inverse of  what What Remains of Edith Finch did by keeping me so engaged that I completed the game in one night.

Honestly, I expected the humor to be much funnier than it actually was. I wanted to laugh out loud when I only got a few good chuckles. Despite those expectations, CHUCHEL is still a joyous experience. It exists in a world that needs more joy, in an entertainment industry that needs more bite-sized experiences in a sea of games that take up to a hundred hours just to see the end. This is a game that the whole family can enjoy, which can’t be said for many of the games on Steam or mobile. I recommend you try CHUCHEL at least once, then maybe let your kids give it a try or buy it for them on iOS or Android.

 

The Bottom Line

CHUCHEL easily goes down as one of the weirdest games you will ever play. It has such a unique art style and wholesome humor that anyone can enjoy. You'll find a few hours of a good time with this game, but nothing groundbreaking that shakes the gaming industry.

 

8

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L.J. Lowery

Born in southern California, but currently residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Loves Hip Hop music, comics, and video games. Events/Media Coordinator, Podcast Producer, and Public Relations.

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