Gutwhale by Stuffed Wombat and Ratalaika Games is a 2D action roguelike that takes place… in the belly of a whale! Check our Gutwhale review!
In Gutwhale by Stuffed Wombat and Ratalaika Games, your journey will start with a brief tutorial to explain the controls before it throws you right into the action. You move around with either the left analog stick or the D-Pad. The X button is used to jump, and if you hold it down, your character will airwalk for a tiny bit as it hovers down. To shoot, you can use either the Square, R1, or R2 buttons, which will make you shoot in front of you or right under you if you are attacking during the airwalk. Where Gutwhale differs is in terms of ammo because you only have a single bullet that you need to pick back up if you want to continue attacking your enemies.
Once you’re done with the tutorial, you’ll pass by the lobby, where you can choose your starting hat between a selection of three. Each of the hats will have its own perks for you to consider. For most of my runs, I picked the Ugly Hat since it allowed me to start with three lives. The game has a total of three stages, each with four single-screen levels where your goal is always the same: eliminate all enemies. There are a few enemy types per stage, so there are about a dozen different types of enemies you’ll encounter in your playthrough. When you arrive at the end of a stage, you’ll be able to purchase a single thing between a choice of three items or a fourth choice that can double your points as long as you manage to stay alive.
When I first started the game, I died a lot, which is to be expected of a roguelike game. The mechanics of having to grab your bullet back with the enemies around can be a bit tricky, so I ended up dying when I was trying to retrieve my bullet so that I could shoot it at the enemies that were coming after me. But after a few tries, I finally got the hang of things, and I had a lot of fun blasting my way through the levels… until it was over. When you get used to how the game plays, making your way through the three stages can be done in a few minutes. I would’ve appreciated a bit more content to make the fun last a bit longer because otherwise, with such a small amount of stages, playing over and over would become repetitive.
The game has a simple 8-bit visual style that fits perfectly with how the game plays, along with some nice dark ambient music that gives a nice, stressful tone to the game since you’re actually trying to exit a whale’s guts. As for the trophies, it is definitely a skill-based list since you have to finish the game, but other than that, it is a relatively easy Platinum to unlock. There are a few trophies that are cumulative over your playthroughs, which will likely be the last ones you’ll get, but nothing will be challenging if you get the hang of the game. And if you happen to be a PlayStation 5 owner, the game is cross-buy, so you’ll have a chance to get two Platinum trophies in about an hour if things go well.
Gutwhale is a fun roguelike game presented in a short format, which is both a good thing and a bad thing since it’s not going to be a game for everyone. Guthwhale is out as a cross-buy title on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 for $4.99.
This Gutwhale review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by eastasiasoft.