1Thanks to Aksys Games for the review code
Release Date: 07/18/2019
You may easily mistake this as a game that’s trying to take too much inspiration from Hal Labs’ Boxboy series, with the monochromatic colors, simplistic character, and similar look, and honestly, the visuals do end up leading this game to feel an awful lot like a missing cousin to those puzzlers. Still, they stuck with a simple presentation that works on the eyes, and the text is fairly big too, making this game easy to read on your TV from a distance.
Unfortunately, the music is NOT something I can praise at all. Trying to go with the cutesy look and silly character design, Gabbuchi goes for a soundtrack that sounds like a bunch of kazoos going off and making horrible melodies, with the entirety of the soundtrack trying way too hard to sound like party music in a similar fashion akin to Yoshi’s New Island. Not every song is dreadful, but a good majority of them are, and considering how they will repeat over and over again during the levels, this might be a game that will drive you insane due to the repetitive soundtrack. Definitely a disappointment.
Gabbuchi is broken up into 15 worlds, where the main objective of each stage is to clear a path for the titular character to reach the stage goal. This is done by having Gabbuchi swap between Red and White on the fly with a shoulder button press, and touching the corresponding colored blocks in order to eat them. Eat them in a certain way to create platforms, then change color, and you’ll be able to reach the end of the stage and move onto the next one.
While you can easily just reach the exit by being careful and planning accordingly, in order to truly clear a stage you need to satisfy Gabbuchi. This is done by eating a certain amount of blocks in order to fill up the hearts in the top-left corner of the screen, and upon clearing the stage with a full meter, you’ll get a mark. However, if you satisfy him in a limited amount of color switching, then you’ll get two, which fully completes the stage. Satisfying him can be real tricky by itself, but doing so with limited switching can really be brain-wracking.
Luckily, if you get stuck on a stage and can’t even clear it normally, you are allowed to skip past the stage entirely upon resetting or dying multiple times in a row. Combine this with being allowed to advance to a new world by clearing a set amount of stages (instead of having to clear entire worlds one after another), and this is a very flexible game, allowing the player to make it to the final world with enough trial and error while also not punishing them for getting stuck on a single level.
Granted, by World 5 the stages become ridiculously complex to clear normally, but even then it’s appreciated how the game gives you some leeway, even if there isn’t much else to the game besides solving worlds and getting the marks.
In the end, Gabbuchi is a fun puzzler that does manage to have its own identity despite the look of the game leaning a bit too close to Boxboy. With a fun color swapping mechanic, lenient level skipping and a game that just allows you to play through the levels at your own pace, this is a fun puzzler to check out and spend a few hours on.
Sadly, the godawful soundtrack really hurts this game a lot, especially considering how puzzle games like these are meant to be relaxing and the soundtrack is the total opposite of that. Combine that with some stages that are really picky with their satisfaction quotas and you have a game that’s really tough to master for the wrong reasons. I’m beyond thankful you can mute the background music if you wish, but it’s also sad that this even needs to be a thing that’s remotely considered to make the game more enjoyable.
Still, dig deep and you’ll find a charming block puzzle platformer to play through, although there’s little else to note of and this puzzler isn’t anything that’s terribly innovative.
I give Gabbuchi a 6 out of 10.