Chuck the Muck is a physics-based puzzle game that requires the player to fling, shoot, and walk a little orange creature from one end of the level to the other, collecting crystals along the way. The controls are quite simple, and when the game is first started, there’s not much of a tutorial. Before the first few levels, the game shows an image describing how certain mechanics work, such as walking the character, flinging the character in the goo slingshots, and expanding and retracting slingshots. These visual aids lack detail and some players may not understand all the mechanics right off the bat. Even once the mechanics are learned, there are occasional issues with the controls. The slingshot can be a bit too difficult to aim, and accidental launching is easy with slingshots that are near the edge of the screen. Even a task as simple as walking can be problematic with the amount of content on screen.
While the ultimate goal is to get to the level’s exit, the level will still be a failure unless the player grabs at least one crystal along the way. Each level contains three crystals, which are used to track completion percentage and act as in-game currency. It isn’t necessary to collect more than one crystal in a stage, but players who want to buy in-game upgrades without spending real money will find that to be the easiest way to accomplish that goal. Collecting all the crystals is hardly an easy task, however. Most stages have at least one crystal that easily obtainable, but the others are typically more challenging. Mastery of the game’s physics and understanding the necessary steps are both crucial in collecting all the crystals. Using power-ups helps, as well, but they’re not required for success.
The amount of power-ups and in game purchases in Chuck the Muck is outstanding. There are basic power-ups, such as level skips and beans that make the character jump higher. There are also costumes that add new gameplay elements and modify the existing ones. Finally, there’s a 99 cent purchase available that will unlock all levels and remove ads. The ads aren’t generally disruptive, so if a player wants to unlock all levels for free, there’s an infinite-use level skip power-up, which can be purchased with in-game currency. The crystals earned in-game act as the currency, and casual players will earn more than enough to get through the game. Players who want more variety, or who want to make use of all the costumes, have the option to purchase more. Crystal purchases start at $0.99 and go up to $99.99. Higher bundles have a lower price-per-crystal, and the top bundle also nets the player a free t-shirt. There’s not a big need to buy one million crystals at this time, but with future levels on the way, some players may get their money’s worth.
Overall, Chuck the Muck is a flawed game, but one that has its share of fun. It’s not a must-play title by any stretch of the imagination, but since it’s a free download, it’s worth checking out. The controls are likely to turn off many players, and the ads can be annoying (though they usually pop up between levels). The simple, yet challenging, gameplay is sure to leave an impression on some players. Hopefully future updates clean up some of the gameplay issues and give users even more ways to spend their hard-earned crystals.
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Some gameplay issues can be a real turn-off, but there are future updates planned.