The singular memory I have of my grandfather is sitting at a table with a plate of cherry pie in front of us. While he was busy speaking to the adults I reached out in front of me and devoured all the cherries within my grasp. By the time my grandfather looked down to take a bite of dessert he realized all he had left of his cherry pie was crust and I looked up to see a big grin on his face. From then on I was enchanted with the sweet taste of cherries of all varieties; maraschino, chocolate covered, compote, Shirley, you name it – I’m gonna eat it. But despite my own affinity for the tasty little morsel, I’ve never met anyone who has had quite the same craving for the juicy treat... that is, until I met Chuchel.
CHUCHEL , the comedy adventure game by Amanita Design, features a little ball of fuzz with a big mouth and an even bigger appetite for cherries. Players first meet Chuchel sound asleep in his cardboard box with an entourage of quirky characters surrounding him. After several attempts to wake him, Chuchel finally gains consciousness and pulls out a sweet cherry to dig his teeth into. Just as he’s about to chomp down on his treat a mysterious hand from above snatches it out of his hands and the rest of the game is spent trying to get his coveted cherry back. With the help (sort of) of his pet Kekel, a red jellybean-looking creature with a tail, they will solve puzzles to bring Chuchel’s cherry back safely and defeat the mysterious hand from above.
If the premise sounds ridiculous it’s because it is ridiculous. CHUCHEL is designed to make players laugh or at least ask themselves on multiple occasions, “What the hell am I playing?!” Each level features a different cast of eccentric googly-eyed characters that stand in Chuchel’s way and are often not helpful or sympathetic to his situation. Over the course of a couple hours I met a snail with vintage arcade inspired games inside his shell, various sets of aliens, and an angry snowman that I may or may not have peed on…and while they are all just living their lives Chuchel is left freaking out over where his cherry is and how to get it back.
Each level plays like a set from a sketch comedy show. Chuchel and Kekel are put in various comedic situations that they need to get out of and the prize for their efforts is the cherry, which somehow always escapes their grasp at the last moment. From accidentally licking a hallucinogenic mushroom to having a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots-esque dual there’s, never a dull moment in this game.
To make your way through this wacky quest click on characters to elicit actions or prompt conversations. Players can click around the screen to make Chuchel pick something up or click on other characters to generate speech bubbles that will provide the players with options for how they would like to proceed, such as talking with the character or performing an action. Engaging in conversation results in listening to gibberish sounds made up of grunts and laughs, yet somehow you know exactly what is being said, or at least the general idea. If players are ever stuck they can click the question mark at the top left corner of the screen for tips or wait for a question mark signpost to pop up that will also generate tips to solve the puzzles. I would encourage players to click everything and try every option available to them – if not for the solution then most definitely for the gags.
CHUCHEL is what I would imagine an acid trip to feel like without having to actually take the drug. It’s a little weird and its story is only surface level, but it’s genuinely a good time. If this game doesn’t at least make you chuckle then I question if you have a soul.
CHUCHEL is available now available on iOS and Android, and can also be found on Steam.
Check out the trailer below: