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The Gunk (From the creators of SteamWorld, 16 December 2021) - Information Thread, update: reviews from OpenCritic posted


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1 hour ago, stepee said:

Oh is it makers of steamworld as in just a new dev with some members from that team?


Actually I'm partially mistaken on my previous statement but it's kind of confusing. In any case the dev (Image & Form) who created steamworld games was merged with a different publisher / developer (Thunderful Group) who are making this game but there is no indication that it is related to the steamworld universe.

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  • Pikachu changed the title to The Gunk (From the creators of SteamWorld) - Information Thread
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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to The Gunk (From the creators of SteamWorld) - Information Thread, update: December 16 release announced
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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to The Gunk (From the creators of SteamWorld, 16 December 2021) - Information Thread, update: Xbox Series X gameplay footage
4 hours ago, stepee said:

Is there combat in this? It seems hinted at in the trailers that there are enemies but skipping around the gameplay video I didn’t really see any either.


I have the same question. I don't like the art style and the lack of combat if that really is the case. It seemed very boring. Meh

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Game Information

Game Title: The Gunk


  • PC (Dec 16, 2021)
  • Xbox Series X/S (Dec 16, 2021)
  • Xbox One (Dec 16, 2021)


Developer: Image & Form
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing


Review Aggregator:

OpenCritic - 72 average - 55% recommended

Critic Reviews

Life is Xbox - Dae Jim - 100%

If someone asks me the question, what is your game of the year for 2021? My answer would be The Gunk.

GamingBolt - Shubhankar Parijat - 9 / 10

The Gunk is an absolute triumph- it looks gorgeous, crafts an addictive and engaging gameplay loop, and tells a story that succeeds on every level.

Windows Central - Cole Martin - 4.5 / 5

The Gunk is a satisfying puzzle-adventure game where two down-on-their-luck space scrappers must help save an alien planet from a destructive black goo. The combat in The Gunk does feel frustratingly underbaked, but solid story pacing and excellent puzzle challenges help overshadow the struggle.

GameSpew - Kim Snaith - 8 / 10

Short as it may be, my time with The Gunk has been wonderful. Image & Form’s move into the 3D realm has solidified it as a truly talented developer – and this may just be its best game yet. Beautiful, satisfying and engaging from start to finish, The Gunk is definitely worth getting stuck into.

PC Invasion - Andrew Farrell - 8 / 10

Enjoyable, but rather slight, The Gunk is an intriguing journey through an alien planet while vacuuming up goop. There isn't much to it, though, which I found a bit disheartening.

Saving Content - Scott Ellison II - 4 / 5

While it’s not a SteamWorld game, it still has that Image & Form charm we know so well with Thunderful Development. It took me 3.5 hours to see the end of the game, and I got 14 out of 16 upgrades, and am missing only 5 achievements. It’s very fun to just navigate and explore this world, taking in the sights and sounds It may be short-lived, but it's a highly enjoyable adventure I want more of. The Gunk establishes itself as a unique and memorable journey worth taking.

TrueAchievements - Heidi Nicholas - 8 / 10

Overall, The Gunk feels like a weighty, enjoyable adventure that goes to some surprising places with its story. I had a great time clearing up the gunk and living my best adventurer life, and the length of the game seemed just right, ensuring that the gunk didn’t overstay its welcome. To make things even better, The Gunk launches straight into Xbox Game Pass today — so you can’t not give it a go.

GamePro - Tobias Veltin - German - 78 / 100

Successful adventure with great "Schmodder mechanics", but also a few problems.

33bits - Rubén Manzanares - Spanish - 75 / 100

The Gunk is a very fun title, which will give us a few hours of fun. The title gives us great control of Rani and allows us to enjoy its biomes and its absorbing history. It is not a game that stands out, but its components but make us face a most remarkable title.

SECTOR.sk - Peter Dragula - Slovak - 7.5 / 10

Little-big surprise published before the end of the year and great present for Christmas.

Xbox Achievements - Matt Lorrigan - 75%

The Gunk is a difficult game to label, but an easy one to enjoy. Whether you’re sucking up a load of the titular gunk to help bring an alien world back to life, or listening to an engaging back and forth between the game’s main characters, there’s plenty to like here, even if it doesn’t quite live up to its early potential.

Hobby Consolas - David Martinez - Spanish - 72 / 100

The Gunk offers a great combination of puzzles, exploration and platforming, with good level design (with nods to the Souls scheme) and an interesting story. It's not too long, and some aspects, such as team upgrades or combat, don't offer too much depth.

Everyeye.it - Marco Mottura - Italian - 7 / 10

Just like the thriving planet it stages, The Gunk is an action-adventure intimately marked by light and shadow. The idea of a measured and collected story is valuable, as well as both the artistic and technical inspiration and certain nuances of gameplay (above all the way in which you joyfully aspire to the dirt that suffocates the world). That is why it really becomes a wasted opportunity that with basic ingredients of good caliber, which in any case once again denote the talent of the Swedish team, the final result betrays the initial expectations.

Game Informer - Jill Grodt - 7 / 10

Nothing here will surprise seasoned gamers but The Gunk has enough diverting action and puzzle-solving in its brief runtime to keep players' attention

Hardcore Gamer - James Cunningham - 3.5 / 5

There's a lot to love about The Gunk even if the core gameplay rarely rises above being pretty OK.  It's a good adventure through a unique and pretty alien world, filled with character and life.

IGN - Tom Marks - 7 / 10

The Gunk is a simple little platforming adventure full of malicious messes that are plenty fun to clean up.

Kakuchopurei - Jonathan Leo - 70 / 100

The Gunk is a step in the right direction for developer Image & Form. Barring a few bugs, its length, and mostly easy difficulty that's intentional, you'll have a blast with Image & Form's new universe that isn't called SteamWorld.

Screen Rant - Jamie Russo - 3.5 / 5

Players can move through each area cleaning up Gunk, defeating the Gunk creatures, and exploring to gather resources and discover secrets. Along with traveling across the planet, Rani will also run into a few combat encounters. She can use Pumpkin to grab and throw enemies or damage vulnerable spots on them. Battles are far and few between, but they still help to break up exploration enough that the game doesn't get boring. The Gunk offers players a fun experience with consistently entertaining gameplay.

TheSixthAxis - Aran Suddi - 7 / 10

The Gunk is an entertaining adventure with a message about pollution and industrialisation. with a likeable protagonist. The pacing is a little drawn out toward the end of the six to seven hour journey, but there's a great visual style and an enjoyable game to experience.

XboxEra - Harm0nica - 7 / 10

The Gunk is a fun to play story based adventure platformer with puzzle elements.   The voice acting is very good with performances that really expressed the emotion of the lead characters.  It has an unusual graphical style that works well with the soothing music and chilled out difficulty of the puzzles.  An interesting world has been created here by Thunderful Games and it is well worth checking out on day one via Xbox Game Pass. 

I must admit though, after seven hours I had certainly had enough of hoovering up gunk and was very glad to have cleansed the planet of it.

Destructoid - CJ Andriessen - 6 / 10

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with The Gunk. It works from a technical standpoint and it isn’t the worst way you can spend about five hours of your time. But I just can’t muster up any sort of authentic excitement about it. If it were funnier or cleverer or more challenging, I could maybe start to see it as a title I could recommend. But as it is, the best I can do is pay it that slightly backhanded compliment of saying it’s perfect for Game Pass.

GGRecon - Tarran Stockton - 6 / 10

In the end, The Gunk sits in the middle of the pile. The core of sucking up the Gunk is satisfying for the roughly four hours of playtime, but the lack of a difficulty curve for the puzzles or combat lets it down. Its story makes an honest attempt at character drama that works for the most part, but the short playtime doesn't leave us quite enough time with the characters or world. It's by no means bad and there's not much poorly implemented content here, but it's a plainly inoffensive experience that settles when it could have punched slightly higher.

GamesRadar+ - Jon Bailes - 3 / 5

Rani and Becks are an appealing duo to share adventures with, but they deserve something more exciting than The Gunk has to offer.

God is a Geek - Lyle Carr - 6 / 10

The Gunk has a fantastic setting and lovely characters, but ultimately the gameplay is lacking.

Metro GameCentral - GameCentral - 6 / 10

Too familiar, too easy, and too short but if you're looking for an undemanding time waster on Game Pass you can certainly do worse than The Gunk.

TheGamer - Eric Switzer - 3 / 5

The Gunk is not a disastrous game. I enjoyed turning my brain off for five hours and exploring this strange and mysterious planet. It’s okay for games to just be empty calories sometimes, and I wouldn’t knock The Gunk for just being a generic popcorn flick. The Gunk aspires to be more than that though, and it falls considerably short. The quality of the SteamWorld games gavethe expectation that this would be a fresh take on the third-person adventure genre, but The Gunk is too shallow for me to recommend - even in the slow December months. If you’re looking for character-driven action-adventure games on Game Pass, Lake and Firewatch were both added earlier this week. Give those a look and leave The Gunk in the gutter.

ACG - Jeremy Penter - Wait for Sale

"The Gunk just never goes anywhere, it never challenges, nor expects anything other than a directional input on the controller. Pass"

Eurogamer - Christian Donlan - Recommended

Rewild an alien world in this elegant and thoughtful game.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Katharine Castle - Unscored

A striking and confident 3D platformer that's a real feast for the senses, but one that plays it very safe compared to Image & Form's more inventive SteamWorld games.

The Escapist - Marty Sliva - Unscored

Video Review - Quote not available

The Partisan Spy - Buy

The Gunk is an action-adventure game about fixing what’s broken. Combat is present in the game, but in a small portion when compared to its adventure. You will explore, clean areas, scan things and solve mini-puzzles to progress in the game.

The story, music, and game design set a meditative and relaxing tone to the gameplay experience. 
With 8 levels, 54 collectibles, and 16 upgrades, some may consider The Gunk to be an EASY GAME TO BEAT. It is definitely A SHORT GAME AND SUPER ACCESSIBLE, you can play it with just U$1.00 by signing up for the Xbox Game Pass.

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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to The Gunk (From the creators of SteamWorld, 16 December 2021) - Information Thread, update: reviews from OpenCritic posted

So played a little over an hour of the game (Got to Chapter 3) and think it's a pretty nice game. I wonder what the criticisms of this game were because I don't think it is bad at all. The game has a small little set up and then you land on a planet infested with "Gunk" and you have to suck it up with your power glove. Then when you suck the gunk the area becomes vibrant and full of life.


The game is fairly linear but it's about exploration and resource gathering (the game does reward you with further resources the more you explore off the beaten path) possibly metroidvaniaesque as you have to upgrade your POWER GLOVE to get to further areas. So far there is some light combat (as @stepee asked) but overall it seems to be pretty chill so far.


Also, it looks really good for what it is, especially when you clean out an area. The UI is very minimalistic so you can really soak in all the visuals.







This is also quite possibly the perfect @Phaseknox game. Not only do you play as a FEMALE but there is another GIRL back at your ship and a ROBOT! :o

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The gameplay loop is suck up gunk in an area, scan the environment, and collect resources. Sucking up the gunk doesn’t change drastically throughout the game. The reward for cleaning up the gunk is to see the natural habitat get restored and opens up the area to explore a bit and collect resources. 

Exploration is straightforward due to the linear level design. The “oh I think I need to go right so let me check left first” type exploration.  You do it though because you need resources for upgrades.

To upgrade, you need to scan the environment to level up your character. Your character doesn’t get experience for sucking gunk. Scanning is basic and gives you small blurb about what you scanned.

Once you collect enough resources and scanned enough objects to unlock upgrades, you can go to your workbench and craft the upgrades. Outside of the one ability you need to unlock in the game to progress, the rest of the upgrades are standard fare. You can upgrade your character to sprint which I hate when games do. You can upgrade your glove to suck more gunk faster or increase your health.

I have nothing bad to say about the game. I have nothing great to say about the game either. It’s one of those games that doesn’t change much as you play more of it. The first hour is very similar to the last hour. The story and characters are not strong enough to make up for a simple gameplay loop. Having said that, I am on Chapter 6 and will see it through to the end. I think there are only 8 chapters. Opencritic has this as 7 which is think is in line with what I would give it. 

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Glad you guys are at least enjoying the game. It's definitely not for me but it seems decent enough for a full playthrough.


I'm worried I won't enjoy Psychonauts 2 because of the art style. Luckily it's just a gamepass game but I hope I love it like everyone else did. 


I will play Fallen Order after I'm done with Galaxy. I look forward to playing that again this evening.

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5 hours ago, Keyser_Soze said:

This is also quite possibly the perfect @Phaseknox game. Not only do you play as a FEMALE but there is another GIRL back at your ship and a ROBOT! :o

Sounds hot. :fap:


3 hours ago, best3444 said:

I'm worried I won't enjoy Psychonauts 2 because of the art style. Luckily it's just a gamepass game but I hope I love it like everyone else did.

Did you play the first one? The second one is a direct continuation to it.

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