I remember when The Gunk was shown for the first time at a Microsoft event back in 2021 if I remember correctly. It looked like a fun and quirky game that would come to Game Pass day one. Fast forward a couple of years, and I have finally had a chance to jump in and finish The Gunk and I have to say that it was a fun experience. A little frustrating at times, but for a new game from a new development team, it really makes a great first impression.
In The Gunk, you play as Rani, one of a duo of explorers that are looking to make a big score before they run out of money for their business. They have been trying to find a planet where they can harvest some minerals or energy so they can finally get some profit into their business. When they land on an uncharted planet, they come across a strange energy source that is hidden under, well, a lot of moving gunk. As you expect, you need to remove that gunk, and along the way, sort out the friend (maybe more) relationship with your other half, Becks.
As you can expect, most of your experience with The Gunk is moving through levels, vacuuming up red gunk that moves and grows around energy sources. The collection mechanic is pretty simple and works pretty well. Things get interesting as you move forward and start to be attacked by defense mechanisms. They start as little creatures you can vacuum up and shoot, but later, you have dripping energy puddles, and energy cannons that will try to stop you from cleaning up gunk.
Aside from the collection of gunk, you will also have to master some platforming as well, as you need to jump around levels to unlock new sections, or ways to collect hidden areas of gunk. It is nothing too difficult, although I did get stuck a few times and really had to think out what I was supposed to do. This is closer to the end when you are expecting things to be harder, but it did tax my brain slightly.
My biggest issue with the game was that even after a year and a half of being released, it was glitchy and buggy. I had an elevator platform turn invisible, and at other times, I got caught on geometry and had to restart from a checkpoint. This normally happened after jumping into an area and getting stuck on a rock or falling from a ledge and getting caught on something on the way down. It didn’t take away from the story and the experience, but it was a little irritating from a game that should have all of this cleaned up so far after release.
All of that said, The Gunk is a really fun and unique experience that I highly recommend people check out if they get a chance. The game is still on Game Pass as of the posting of this article, and runs about $20 on other platforms. However you go about it, The Gunk is a fun little experience that will leave you happy you played it.