Chuchel

PC

Games TM - - WHAT LIES BELOW -

If Sal­vador Dalí and Terry Gil­liam col­lab­o­rated on a videogame re­make of the bits from Ice Age where that squir­rel re­peat­edly tries to get hold of an elu­sive acorn, you might end up with some­thing like Chuchel. The acorn, in this case, is a cherry. The role of the ag­i­tated squir­rel who is re­peat­edly foiled in his at­tempts to get his de­sired trea­sure to comedic ef­fect is played by a small furry crea­ture called Chuchel.

Chuchel finds him­self be­ing tor­tured by a gi­ant hand that reaches down out of the sky to pick him up and put him and his beloved cherry in sit­u­a­tions where the two of them are kept apart by some ob­sta­cle. Here is where you come in. Some­times you’ll have to solve a sim­ple puz­zle to get to the cherry, some­times you need do noth­ing more than click on what­ever is in front of you to make some­thing strange or funny hap­pen, and some­times you’ll find your­self play­ing a minigame.

Save for Chuchel’s oc­ca­sional ri­valry and some­times col­lab­o­ra­tion with another cherry-lov­ing crea­ture named Kekel, there isn’t any con­nec­tive tis­sue of sub­stance be­tween each of the game’s sce­nar­ios. In­stead, Chuchel is pre­sented as a se­ries of vi­gnettes. Each is a be­spoke click­able toy for you to play with. A de­light­ful dig­i­tal con­struc­tion that will have you rev­el­ling in the artistry of its an­i­ma­tion and the skill with which its sound­track is in­ter­wo­ven with the ac­tion tak­ing place on the screen. This isn’t a game about the com­plex­ity of its in­ter­ac­tions – a sign­post will soon pop up to give you the op­tion of see­ing the so­lu­tion to a puz­zle if you strug­gle for even a short time – but rather about en­joy­ing see­ing it in mo­tion. In­deed, de­spite its ob­vi­ous silli­ness, we were struck by the sheer beauty of the thing in al­most ev­ery scene it pre­sented us.

The world of Chuchel is a plea­sur­ably sur­real one to play in. It is full of bizarre crea­tures and fre­quently takes un­ex­pected turns, usu­ally in pur­suit of com­edy. It is not laugh-out-loud funny, but there is some­thing un­de­ni­ably lik­able about its light­hearted na­ture and it’s al­ways fun to watch its quirky tit­u­lar char­ac­ter lose its rag with al­most ev­ery crea­ture it en­coun­ters.

We can imag­ine this game’s short length and rel­a­tive lack of com­plex­ity leav­ing those ex­pect­ing a more tra­di­tional point-and-click in the vain of Amanita De­sign’s pre­vi­ous ti­tles, Machi­nar­ium, or even Botan­ic­ula (with which Chuchel shares more in com­mon), feel­ing dis­ap­pointed. How­ever, we would ar­gue there is some­thing of value to be found pre­cisely in Chuchel’s de­fy­ing of ex­pec­ta­tions. You won’t find a lot of games out there like this lit­tle cu­rio, nor many made with the level of craft pos­sessed by the in­cred­i­bly tal­ented team that made it.

7/10 VER­DICT a short, sim­ple show­case of artis­tic tal­ent

above: Chuchel is an an­gry lit­tle thing and the frus­tra­tion and es­ca­lat­ing rage he ex­pe­ri­ences is com­mu­ni­cated bril­liantly with­out any need for words. His cries of an­guish and the game’s amaz­ing an­i­ma­tion tell you all you need to know.

above: Sce­nar­ios in Chuchel are as sim­ple and non­sen­si­cal as this: there’s the cherry in a pool of wa­ter that’s in the head of weird yel­low crea­ture, now you click on some stuff un­til Chuchel and Kekel find a way to get to it.

botan­ic­ula

machi­nar­ium

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