Gutwhale review for PS4/PS5, Switch, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, PS4, Switch,
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Wild Sphere
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

For the life of me, I can?t figure out who would want to play Gutwhale. It?s not that it?s a terrible game, or that it?s broken. It?s just that, whether you?re good at it or bad at it, there?s not much reason to pick it up either way.

Let?s say you?re awful at it — a category that most definitely applies to me. Gutwhale?s controls are kind of finicky (or, at least, that?s my explanation for my complete inability to jump and shoot downwards at the same time), the gameplay is repetitive, and the whole thing gets really old really fast.

But say you?re good at it. Say that you instantly pick up the controls, and have no issues whatsoever with blasting your way through each level, shooting enemies, grabbing your single bullet on the rebound, and then shooting more enemies. If that?s the case, then…well, then you finish the game in under twenty minutes, since there are only three levels, and there?s not much more to do once you?ve unlocked everything you can unlock within those twenty minutes. You could maybe swap your hat to make it a little harder, and maybe you?ll want to try and beat the game in under five minutes, but absent any online leaderboards or anything, what?s the point?

The weird thing is that Gutwhale is, in a way, the perfect Ratalaika game. They?re known for Platinum trophies that pop way too soon, usually within about 20-30 minutes of starting a game, regardless of its length; Gutwhale?s Platinum doesn?t pop unless you finish the game a few times over…which happens to be less than 20-30 minutes. So, in that one specific way, it solves that problem.

But like I said: whether you want a quick Platinum or not, whether you?re great at it or terrible, none of that matters. Gutwhale feels like it?s designed to just be a deeply unsatisfying game.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Gutwhale PS4/PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: C-