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Gutwhale – Review

Gutwhale is Downwell with one bullet and only three levels. Job done, I’m outta here. Only joking – although that review is very near the mark if I’m honest.

Avoid those fishies – they are deadly.

in Gutwhale, you are fighting your way through a very short rougelite inside a whales guts. You’ll be presented with a single screen with some enemies to kill and when you do, you’ll drop to the next floor below to repeat. Each level consists of several floors and at the end of each you’ll get to upgrade your character with more hit points, ammo or a new hat for a specific ability.

The trick here is that you only have one bullet and so when you fire it, you need to collect it. Doing this requires forethought and patience as well as timing precision as you leap over or run under your enemies. There are only a few enemies available but they each have attack patterns that when left unchecked, end your run. Gutwhale is relentless with death and although your coins don’t carry over, you can unlock a few new hats to choose your passive ability to start each run with. I recommend the one that gives you a better jump as you’ll need it all the time.

Lining up those !’s for a downward shot is satisfying and makes life much easier!

Jumping is key in Gutwhale as when you hold the button, your gun points down so you can shoot not just horizontally but directly beneath you. This is key as when you fall from one level to the next you can line these shots up and take out enemies on your way down. This is signalled with exclamation mark bubbles at the bottom of the floor and is by far the best bit of the game.

As is a common theme recently with games I’ve played though, Gutwhale is seriously short. Ridiculously short in fact – three levels. You could clear the initial game in a few minutes but to see the secret ending, you’ll need to grind away for a bit replaying the game to rack up points and coins into a frog. Even then – its completable in about 40 minutes. It just doesn’t feel quite right for the price point.

Its clear a lot of love went into Gutwhale from a solo dev. The gameplay is tight and addictive whilst being challenging. It is just over way too soon. If it had triple the levels, enemies and content, I’d be happier to recommend it but not at its current situation on console. I hope Stuffed Wombat expands on the concept in the future to create a meatier game like this. The seeds are there for a great experience.

Review code provided by publisher.

Final Thoughts
Plays great, has a challenge but you can complete it in under 10 minutes and discover all the secrets in 40. Sale only.
Juicy challenge.
The downwell shooting is fun and badass.
Not enough enemies.
Horrifically short.
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