Saturday, June 22, 2024
GAME ON

Chuchel

A comedy adventure game that makes you feel like a cartoon character

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Chuchel, from Amanita Designs, is another lighthearted game from Jaromír Plachý. He started work on Chuchel shortly after finishing Botanicula in 2012.

We follow the adventures of Chuchel and his nemesis, Kekel as they fight over a delicious cherry. Chuchel and Kekel travel from scene to scene, stealing the cherry from each other and running away. A giant hand comes in to steal the cherry from them both, and teases Chuchel. Eventually the hand is revealed to belong to a giant named Chrchel, who swallows them both. Then they have to figure how to get out.

The puzzles in this game are very simple. More than anything else, they’re fun to solve, and the animations are entertaining. Like other Amanita Design games, solving the puzzle unlocks a fun animation as a reward. Chuchel and Kekel are whimsical little cartoons, both somehow managing to be cute and also a little ugly. The art style in this game is like you’re in a playable cartoon. Jaromír Plachý wanted to make an interactive cartoon — something that could be played through like a game but looked like an animation from a kid’s show.

Music and sound effects are by DVa, the band responsible for the soundtrack and efffects for Botanicula. The music has a lot of energy and bounce, and the sound effects are adorable.

Chuchel gets his name from a combination of two similar Czech words: ‘chumel,’ meaning clump or tangle, and chuchvalec, meaning tangled mess or clot. To me he looks like a hairball, or maybe a dust bunny. Originally, he had a black body and orange hat, but after accusations of blackface, they changed his color scheme to a black hat and orange body.

This is a great game for kids. My child loved it and played through it several times. Yesterday he wanted to know if I would reinstall it so he could play it again, and he’s almost 9 now. Chuchel has anger issues and gets extremely angry when his cherry is stolen, and there’s an alien with a blaster ray that chases him around for a bit, but overall, there’s very little violence.

Chuchel has won several awards, including IGF 2018: Excellence in Visual Art Award; Anifilm 2018: Best Game for Children; CEEGA 2018: Best Visual Art; BIG Festival 2018: Best Art; BitSummit Kyoto 2018: Media Highlight Award; Google Play Best of 2019: Best Indie; and the International Mobile Gaming Awards 2019: Excellence in Visual Art and Design.