There are proven recipes for creating video games. Fashion trends and fashions force studios to release twin games. Real masterpieces that can attract attention rarely appear. They are created by those who do not recognize rules and standards and go against marketing requirements. The independent Czech company Amanita Design stands out from the crowd. Each of her games becomes an unconditional hit: Machinarium, Botanicula, Samorost.
The Amanita Design studio employs no more than ten people, but there is no doubt about the talent of these artists and animators. The company’s first major game was Machinarium, released in 2009. In it, the player had to get to know a little robot and help him overcome many obstacles on the way to his final goal. The game made me fall in love with its unusual graphics, smart and exciting puzzles and pleasant music.
Czech publishers did not betray themselves and released their next hit in 2012 – Botanicula. This time, players had to identify themselves not even with a humanoid robot, but with five creatures at once. It would be a stretch to call them similar to mushrooms, which already adds a taste of madness. An energetic team is working to save a seed on a strange plant from parasites. The game made you think through the characters’ moves and pleasantly surprised you with its unusual graphics. The next major project of the Czech studio was CHUCHEL, released in March 2018. The degree of madness in it has increased even more, but this is easily compensated for by the abundance of humor.
This time we are invited to control a small shaggy cute monster Scarecrow. But for children who do not go into linguistic subtleties, he will simply be a Scarecrow. This lump of black hair wears a bright orange cap, and next to him is almost always either a friend or competitor Kekel. This nimble monster vaguely resembles a mouse. The essence of the game is to chase a cherry, the favorite delicacy of both heroes. The action is somewhat similar to the adventures of a squirrel and her acorn in Ice Age. The cherry ends up in the hands of our heroes time after time, but powerful forces intervene, prolonging the search. So, someone’s giant hand could fall from the sky and simply take away a tasty prize. But if this openly angers the heroes, then we are only happy – the adventures continue!
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The game itself consists of a couple of dozen levels. But not every one of them is a puzzle. Sometimes, to get to the next stage, you don’t even have to solve the riddle, but simply take part in a fascinating cartoon scene with the help of our Scarecrow.
The gameplay itself is an attempt to get to the cherry once again. She is constantly in sight, but out of reach of our heroes. They have to help each other, use surrounding objects or involve other characters. And those in their coloring confirm the wildest fantasies! “Monsters, Inc.” can only envy these shapes, colors, teeth and eyes.
The riddles in CHUCHEL are simple – usually, to catch the coveted cherry, it is enough to do 4-5 actions in a certain order. But this process does not so much make you think as it allows you to enjoy what is happening. When you click on an object or creature, they immediately respond with a reaction or offer a choice of several options for further action. And every time another funny scene awaits us. Passing a level leads to the appearance of a new stage, just as crazy.
The cherry tree is guarded by very colorful creatures who react in unusual ways to an attempt to take the prize from them. This is downright fun to watch! Moreover, even the same actions of the Scarecrow can cause a different reaction from the characters each time. You don’t rush through the scene – it’s interesting to see everything the characters are capable of. And Chuchel himself reacts to failures or success in a very hilarious way – he makes faces, mutters funny.
In this game we will have to face not only monsters, but also aliens, take part in robot boxing and unusual snail races (A snail’s rocket engine is the key to victory? It’s not that simple!). It’s funny to see references to the legendary hits of the past in the game: Tetris, Pacman, Angry Birds, Space Invaders. They are elegantly inserted into CHUCHEL and are an integral part of the game’s progression.
Don’t be afraid that you will get stuck on some kind of puzzle. The issue with hints was resolved quite tactfully. It’s funny, but even the step-by-step comic book instructions that drop down after clicking on the button with a question mark can be compiled at random. But this puzzle is much easier to solve. And is there really room in this crazy world for something clear and understandable? It must be said that Amanita Design is not trying to confuse players with complex decisions. In the same Machinarium there was a book with tips, although with access restrictions.
The game CHUCHEL can easily be called family entertainment. Children will certainly join in with the adults, if not to solve the riddles, then at least to watch the characters. They are not scary at all, but terribly charming. The situational humor here is absolutely not vulgar and will universally appeal to people of all ages. Scarecrow and Kekel constantly get out of unimaginable situations, change shapes and colors, lose limbs, but are constantly revived and continue their journey. A dedicated adult can complete the game in a couple of hours, but for some reason there is no doubt that children will certainly want to play the game again and again, repeating the pleasure.
Publishers Amanita Design have created a crazy, fun world in which it is simply impossible to predict the next scene. It’s so easy to fall in love with superheroes or seductive beauties with ideal forms, but in CHUCHEL for some reason you terribly sympathize with awkward monsters. They were drawn by hand and with obvious love. The game really seems alive, and the unusual images are supported by high-quality animation. And the sound is an important part of the game. This is not the case when the gadget is put into silent mode so as not to interfere. In CHUCHEL you also want to hear the characters and the sounds they make, especially since sometimes this is part of the puzzle. Vivid images, animation and music create the spirit of a real bright and fun adventure.
The advantages of the game are obvious. There is everything here to make CHUCHEL family entertainment for a couple of evenings. Adults will enjoy good jokes, heroes with their own personalities, funny situations and adventures with solving puzzles, and children will continue to simply play around with Scarecrow and Kekel even after reaching the finale. The price of 379 rubles in the App Store is completely justified. The atmosphere of madness is not only not confusing, but is also the foundation for the success of the game. The only downside is the inconvenience of controlling the characters in a couple of scenes, but this applies to gadgets with a touchscreen. And the game should have been made at least a dozen scenes longer, and then another ten… CHUCHEL is addictive, but the creators wisely did not dare to completely immerse us in this madness.
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