Wot I Think: Chuchel

Chuchel is a tour de force of animation, every scene so vibrant and hilarious, colourful and manic, the slightest tweaks in character facial expressions eliciting guffaws. Every new scene is a glorious delight just to look at, before you even start playing with it. And then, as you click on every element on the screen, delightful, silly and gorgeous things happen. This is a game where I find myself trying to work out what is the correct solution to any given puzzle, just so I can avoid clicking on it before I’ve clicked on everything else. I exhaust every repeated joke until it loops, don’t mind when they do, and call people in from other rooms to see the funniest moments. Chuchel is, beyond belief, wonderful.

From Amanita, who have previously brought us utterly beautiful games like Machinarium, Samorost and Botanicula, this is in some ways a diversion, in others true to their wondrously animated form. Whereas their games are usually better described as organic adventure puzzles, Chuchel is a much more straightforward puzzle game. It still plays in the familiar manner of just clicking on things on the screen to see what they do, and then delighting when they do it, and here it’s all about a little fuzzy black creature desperately trying to get his hands on a cherry.

The game plays out in a number of mini-chapters, almost like episodes of a mad cartoon, where a sequence of screens or challenges or puzzles will end with the game’s name crashing into screen, invariably squishing our hero, then launching off in another lunatic direction. The persistent theme is that little Chuchel wants that damned cherry, and is constantly being thwarted by a little pink bug creature, and a giant omnipotent brown hairy hand that descends from the top of the screen. One scene you’ll be trying to arrange bizarre amphibious creatures such that they provide a crude Rube Goldberg means of reaching a high-up space, in another you’ll just be laughing your face off as you try to crack the head of a poor egg-like monstrosity through a series of sequences. There are mini arcade games, there are extended animated sequences to just sit and thoroughly enjoy, there are incredibly bizarre action sequences in which you must punch away an army of invading sentient teeth.

This is daft happiness at its purest, titrated into gaming. And it’s always with the slightest edge of mania, ensuring it never feels cutesy or saccharine. Chuchel himself has what might politely be described as anger issues, and the universe’s peculiar obsession with preventing his reaching the food he so desperately wants to eat seems to increasingly drive him towards the world’s most adorable breakdown. The violence is squarely in the Tom & Jerry variety, giant hammers blatting creatures into daft shapes, everything reset to normal at the start of a new scene.

It’s so long since I’ve laughed so often, and so loudly, at a game. And joyously, my three year old son has joined in with the giggling. I’m very aware, from the experience of the first 37 years of my life, how unhelpful it can be for reviews to fixate on what a game offers to a parent and child playing together, so I’m going to write about that specifically and separately in another article, but for now let me just make the aside that no other game has had me and my boy both laughing out loud at the same jokes, turning to each other and telling each other how much we’re loving it.

Frustratingly, it makes one – one – mistake, in a run otherwise close to perfection. There are two arcade sequences in there that go on for too long. A slightly imaginative take on Space Invaders just overstays its welcome, but worse is a dreary section in which you dodge obstacles in a side-scrolling obstacle course for far, far too long. Neither is difficult, but especially the latter feels jarringly incongruous within the rest of the game.

And that’s it. That’s my list of criticisms. Chuchel really is that good. It’s over-stuffed with wonderful ideas, ludicrous imagination, and hilarious nonsense. Its bright cheerfulness is an oasis in the world of gaming, and its humour, all delivered through the gibberish-speak of its extraordinary coterie of imaginary creatures, is incessantly funny.

Oh, and the music! The music. Goodness me, it’s incredible stuff, vocal excellence by DVA, that perfectly accompanies the mad jibber-jabber from the game’s characters.

Chuchel is a creation of pure joy, an absolute masterclass in silliness, with pleasingly involved puzzles to boot. It’s a giant cuddle of a game, interesting to all ages, and with a manic edge that never slows down.

Chuchel is out 7th March, 3pm, on Windows and Mac, via Steam and GOG.


  1. doglikesparky says:

    I love Amanita. I’ve played all their stuff from their first little Flash game. Just looking at those pictures has put warmth in my heart and made my eyes a little weepy. I’m a 49 year old man for heaven’s sake! What’s wrong with me?

    • snappycow says:

      Nothing wrong there man, nothing wrong :’) Amanita’s games really do have that magic that brings you waay way back somehow.

      I was so distraught I was shouting when the two goons dognapped the white gnome’s dog.

    • khamul says:

      You have a heart.

      That’s a little unfashionable these days, but stick with it, man. It’s worth what it costs to carry it.

      • Risingson says:

        “You have a heart”.

        Sorry, but NO. This. NO. Do some critical analysis. Think on how that (brilliant, if you need me to put an opinion on it) visual design calls at the same time to ingenuity and nostalgia. Don’t, ever, say that if you don’t like this you don’t have a heart, because emotionally manipulative games are everywhere (hello again To The Moon) and personally I find them poisonous.

        • JB says:

          “Don’t, ever, say that if you don’t like this you don’t have a heart”

          No-one said that.

        • FuriKuri says:

          So, uh, given that the entire point of storytelling is ’emotional manipulation’, what’s your complaint, exactly? That some games set this as their main focus, perhaps their sole focus, but should be cast aside for all people forever and ever because…?

  2. cpt_freakout says:

    Yes, yes, yes!! This is an insta-buy, insta-play deal for me (it kinda already was… but now I know it’s good stuff). Amanita games are life.

  3. Marclev says:

    From Amanita


  4. CameO73 says:

    I love visting RPS, but I hate those “tag-links” that always fool me into thinking that it’s a link where I can buy the game.

    Here is the link to the game on Steam, btw:
    link to store.steampowered.com

    • John Walker says:

      Just like the one at the bottom of the review!

    • TheBetterStory says:

      I’ve had the same thought before, but upon reflection it makes more sense to link the game at the bottom—that way RPS can include links to a multitude of different stores without favouring, say, Steam.

  5. dystome says:

    Do the puzzles make any more sense than in their previous games? I played the first two Samarost games plus Machinarium and with all three I got a few screens in before not being able to work out where to click, trying every square centimetre of my screen, sighing and then giving up.

    Obviously the easy suggestion is that some people are just too stupid to be playing games like this but if that’s a real possibility then I’d say that’s some sort of indictment of the game as well as me.

    • John Walker says:

      No, nothing to do with being stupid. Just different minds attach better to different puzzles.

      This is much less obtuse than previous games, and if you’re stuck a hint icon drops in and spells it all out.

    • Risingson says:

      It’s not being stupid or smart, it’s the mechanic itself of how adventure games work, and the Amanita games are VERY light in this respect. You just need some training, and if it is possible, to play with someone else at the same time.

    • Cederic says:

      I’d agree with John, it’s not the intelligence of the game player it’s something else going on.

      I can zero-mistake all three Hexcells games with nary a pause but Machinarium caused me great distress – mainly because it looked (and still looks) so fantastic, and my inability to progress was preventing me enjoying it.

      Something about those games is just geared to a very different way of thinking. Oh well.

    • Ragnar says:

      I found Mechanerium to be the most difficult, and it often left me stuck.

      The Samorost games I was able to get through by just clicking on everything.

      Botanicula was the easiest, and I only got momentarily stuck on a few larger puzzles. It made it obvious what you could click on, and it looks like this game follows suit.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Big Dunc says:

    I have a 2 1/2 year old son and I think we are going to love this.

  7. bl4C3y3 says:

    Looking forward to it ! After finding out about Amanita here, I bought Samrorost 3, Machinarium and Botanicula to play together with our kids. They are great games, certainly for that purpose. Oldest daughter is 11 now and we played trough Samrorost 3 and Machinarium, basically she plays and I sit next to her while we brainstorm about the puzzles to solve, which way to go next etc, great times !

  8. Pliqu3011 says:

    Genuinely haven’t been this hyped for a game in ages. Insta-buy for me.
    Amanita is probably the only studio in the world I’d completely trust with my money before reading even a single review, though I’m glad to read Chuchel is excellent once again of course. They infuse their games with a kind of magic I’ve not encountered anywhere else. It’s hard to describe just how wonderful and charming their little games are.

  9. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    oh my sweet lord I have never heard of this and bought but never played Machinarium, but I am buying this the second it is released at 12:01AM!

  10. Lightjolly says:

    Amanita have yet to make a bad game, these devs are amazing.

    Samorost 3 to me was their highest point yet, lets see how Chuchel can handle

  11. Mungrul says:

    May very well have to pick this up, love their stuff.
    And I adore their foray in to film with Kooky <3

    • Marclev says:

      Incidently, does anybody know if there’s an English dub available of Kooky? It’s a brilliant film, but somewhat impossible to watch with children, because of needing sub-titles.

      • wwwhhattt says:

        Just checked the stream from the Humble Store, and that automatically played with the English dub (with Czech accents!)

  12. Marclev says:

    Any sort of point and click adventure game is great to play for father / child bonding
    (especially ones that you’ve played before so that you can drop subtle and not so subtle hints so that your kid never gets frustrated). They basically turn into co-op games as you pair up trying to solve the puzzles, with story progressing providing regular rewards, but without the hand-eye coordination that proper co-op games require that younger children won’t have. Also, trying to solve the puzzles develops their critical thinking, so is technically educational.

    As your son gets older, make sure to dig out (remastered) old adventures like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. It’s a proper bonding experience. Newer “kid friendly” ones like Book of Unwritten Tales are brilliant for this too.

  13. haldolium says:

    I just love it. Just got beyond the frogs

    The moment Amanita announced it I was already sold. Their games are just beautiful works. Even if CHUCHEL is different in terms of offering any meaningful story, the scenes alone with all their details in animation and sound are worth it.

    Brilliant and fun.

  14. TheComputerGamer says:

    Amanita games are the closest you’ll get to being inside an Eric Carle’s Book. The use of gestures and emotions to perceive the goal or task at hand leaves things open to interpretation, which is great for your kids imagination.

  15. Hypocee says:

    Finished it today. Laughed one time, at the smallest frog. But I smiled a lot, so it’s OK. Liked the ending in particular, which is the opposite of most fiction.

    Maybe I’ll come back in a year and check – there’s nothing new under the sun, so presumably this variant of Pac-Man’s been done before, where you need to pass the ghosts over dots before they can be eaten (or be on a Power Pellet). Anyone know where? It seems a bit good.

  16. jus.ruys says:

    I think this would be a great game for little kids, but as an more mature perspective I do NOT agree with this review. The artstyle of this game is gorgeous, but the humour is very childish and there is no story whatsoever. Thus my conclusion that Chuchel is a great kids game, but not a great game set for all ages.

  17. Scandalon says:

    “But John, why do you hate games?”