The Gunk Tips And Tricks: Beginner's Guide For Exploring An Alien World

Here's how to stay funky among the gunky.

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The Gunk is one of the last game releases of the year, and if you're planning on diving into this new adventure from the SteamWorld team, you'd do well to plan ahead. Landing on an alien planet is always a recipe for mystery and discovery, and The Gunk is no different. Here are five tips and tricks we think should help you on your expedition through the titular sludge and into a whole new world.

Scan everything (and everyone)

It's not just plant life you'll want to identify.
It's not just plant life you'll want to identify.

Scanning the alien world, such as its flora and fauna, is the only way to unlock new abilities in The Gunk, and if you want to unlock all 15 abilities, you'll need to scan almost everything. Before you suck up nearby resources with your Power Glove, "Pumpkin," be sure to scan them to learn about each resource. Doing this will ensure you not only understand what each item is from a story perspective, it will also help you reveal new upgrades that you can craft at the crafting table back at your base.

More importantly, you'll also want to scan new objects and even characters. Scan Becks, your best friend. Scan your robot assistant. Encounter a new kind of button, switch, door, or bridge? Scan them too. They all go toward unlocking new upgrades.

Learn the four categories of resources

Knowing what you have and what you need will be key to improving Rani's skills.
Knowing what you have and what you need will be key to improving Rani's skills.

You'll collect resources just about every few feet in The Gunk, and they come in four varieties. Knowing what you have and what you need can be a bit tricky given that the workbench UI doesn't mention them by name, so you only glimpse the categories as you're actively collecting them. The four categories are:

  • Organic
  • Alien
  • Fiber
  • Metal

Not every upgrade needs every kind of resource, and you can check what you're lacking at the workbench--just look at the bottom of the upgrades screen for a tally of what you have on-hand. It's also worth noting that resources do not reappear, so if you think you've exhausted all of them but you can't craft everything just yet, you must've missed items somewhere on your travels.

Combine the two speed-boosting abilities for super speed

Rani starts the game rather slow, but you can fix that rather early.
Rani starts the game rather slow, but you can fix that rather early.

At the start of the game, you'll need to unlock the ability to sprint. You'll move rather slowly without it, so it should be among your first chosen upgrades once you can afford it. Not long after, you can unlock an ability that gives you a momentary speed boost after sucking up some of the game's ubiquitous gunk. While you can actually beat the game without unlocking either of these, the best way to play is to obtain them both early, then combine their abilities often. While sprinting has no limitations, the added speed boost you get for a few seconds after hoovering up some gunk gives Rani an incredible speed boost, which becomes really helpful later on when you have some bigger, meaner enemies to deal with.

Regroup at base every time you get a new fast-travel location

There are no natural breaks, so you'll want to make your own.
There are no natural breaks, so you'll want to make your own.

The Gunk has an interesting structure. Not only can you feasibly complete the game without unlocking virtually any upgrades, you also aren't forced to head back to your base camp very often. However, you should still make time for both of these things, of course. The best time to do this is whenever you unlock one of the game's seven fast-travel spots. Planting a beacon in the designated area will allow you to travel back and forth quickly, so use this time to level-up, essentially. Head back to base and spend the resources you've gathered to make Rani stronger, faster, and sturdier.

Know when there's too much gunk in the trunk

Don't worry, you won't have to clean all of that up.
Don't worry, you won't have to clean all of that up.

Most of the time when you encounter the infamous gunk, the bubbly crimson goop will need to be wiped out entirely from an area in order to proceed through the story. But there are a few moments when the gunk is so overwhelming that your objective is not to suck it all up, but rather to find a path through it. Don't get caught up in ridding every area with every last drop of gunk. The game tends to use web-like gunk threshold blockades as signals that you need to remove all of the area's sludgy stuff. If you aren't impeded by one of those, or if the gunk is so incredibly mountainous that it seems impossible to overcome completely, you're probably right. Just find your way through and seek clean air elsewhere.

For more on Image & Form's new adventure, don't miss our breakdown of how long it takes to beat The Gunk.

Mark Delaney on Google+

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