A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chuchel is a downloadable adventure game that requires the player to solve a variety of puzzles. The game uses no dialogue and has minimal instruction, but it's still easy to learn how to play and interact with the world. It isn't until the last few puzzles when things get really tricky and kids might get a little frustrated. There's cartoony violence, with the main character being battered like old Looney Tunes cartoons: While trying to get a cherry, the character will be hit by large objects falling from the sky, get blown up, and suffer other slapstick shenanigans. In one puzzle, there's some juvenile humor in the form of the option to drink in the shower and then urinate on different objects. The most plausibly objectionable thing in the entire game is the opportunity in one puzzle to take hallucinogenic mushrooms, though this is played mainly for goofy laughs and a chance to wash the screen with vivid colors.
What's it about?
CHUCHEL is a comedy adventure game about Chuchel, a hairy hero, and his rival Kekel as they face numerous puzzles and challenges in their quest to retrieve a precious cherry. You'll interact with dozens of funky characters like sentient toothbrushes, sleeping apes with upside-down faces, and teasing gelatin monsters as you try to solve their immediate problems to get your hands on the cherry -- only to somehow lose it again.
Is it any good?
This is a charming and delightful puzzle game that's perfect for all audiences. Lots of games and shows and movies claim to be "fun for the whole family," but Chuchel actually is that: Non-players will get sucked into the vibrant, goofy, noisy, and joyful game world by shouting out suggestions of ways to solve the puzzle or just things to try. Although your goal on each screen is basic -- try to get the cherry -- the downright silly animations and audio cues are so rewarding that you'll inevitably want to see what every interaction does and sounds like. It's all a vivid burst of fun.
This game is clearly designed with younger players in mind. Although the puzzles aren't always what you would call easy, it's never hard to figure out what you're trying to do. Yes, you're trying to get a cherry in each stage, but the sparse screens lay out only what you'll need to interact with to solve, and all you need is a small bit of patience for the trial and error ahead. The "toughest" puzzle was spread across two screens, where you had to figure out what trees to shake in sequence so that you could eat fruits in the right order. The only real issues with the two-hour game are relatively minor: The mouse and keyboard start to feel inadequate for the delicate control that's being asked of you -- those levels would be a snap on a touch device like a phone or tablet, but can verge on annoying on traditional setups. There are also some levels deployed for variety's sake, ranging from racing to re-creations/interpretations of classic games like Tetris. They change up the pace but also feel out of place, because none of them provide or provoke as many laughs or as much fascination as the rest of what's here. It's hard to recommend Chuchel any more thoroughly: It feels like watching a hilarious kid's show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about problem-solving techniques, and good ways of building hypotheses and testing them. How might the thinking behind solving a puzzle in Chuchel apply to real life?
The game is ultimately about not being materialistic, and sharing. How do you think even adults might struggle with this? How can you guard against this as you get older?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Price: $9.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Amanita Design
- Release date: March 7, 2018
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: March 8, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.