Gabbuchi makes players consider what they need
The premise of Gabbuchi may seem simple. Players control a little monster with a ravenous appetite for bits and blocks. You have to figure out which ones to eat to fill the character up, while also reaching the heart-shaped cookie that represents the goal. Everything about the game is about appetite and block management. This means people have an opportunity to enjoy a game that constantly forces them to think ahead.
There is one important mechanic in Gabbuchi, which means mastering it is the key to success. Gabbuchi can be red or white. If the they are red, they can eat red blocks and stand on white blocks. If they are white, they can eat white blocks and stand on red. Everything in the game revolves around knowing when to eat and when not to, as well as how to properly angle jumps and movement in such a way that you only devour the absolutely necessary cubes blocking your progress.
Things start out simple. Gabbuchi is never too demanding. It asks people complete certain number of levels successfully to unlock new worlds. Not master them, which involves eating until the character is fully satisfied and not swapping colors more than a specified number of times. All someone needs to do is just reach the end. It even allows people to skip levels that are giving them trouble, though you have to take pauses and can’t repeatedly hammer the skip button to unlock everything.
Even if you are accomplishing the bare minimum required to get by, Gabbuchi offers stages that require quite a bit of thought. The first thing you have to do is think about the blocks you need. Do you need to make a staircase for Gabbuchi to climb? Is it necessary to quickly swap between colors, to ensure you remove obstacles above the character, but still keep a platform beneath them? Is there an enemy character following a set path that you need to avoid, leaving blocks behind so your avatar remains safe? Before you even make a move, you have to know in your mind the few blocks you can’t live without.
Once you start experimenting, Gabbuchi gives a person what they need to try and excel. It is easy to retry a level and there are no penalties. With a push of a button, you can see how much the character would need to consume to reach the "satisfied" status. This ability to reset can let you gauge how many color shifts you have performed and see if you can get those numbers down. It is the sort of puzzle game where you don’t really have to worry about scores or times. It is about taking your time to become your best.
Without being obvious about it, Gabbuchi is forcing you to think about the resources you are managing. It is requiring you to constantly look and evaluate your actions. You have the tools needed to experiment without worrying about being docked for your curiosity. Then, as you go forward, you find yourself in better positions to handle more advanced puzzles.
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