When I first heard about A Gummy’s Life, I hoped from the title of this game that it would be a cutesy candy-themed sim a la Slime Rancher or Spore. The trailer, however, immediately corrected my expectations. A Gummy’s Life is a cutesy, candy-themed fighting game.
Boasting some adorable (if goofy looking) character designs based on favorite snacks like gummy sharks, gummy bears, and licorice twists, among others, the game offers a variety of ways to play, in both local and online multiplayer modes. Standard free-for-all mode is supplemented by “king of the hill”, “team deathmatch”, and “hot potato” games, each mode further complicated by the unique challenges of the chosen arenas.
I particularly enjoyed the “Zombarn” level, which released zombie gummies every few seconds until every player had been infected, ending in a draw almost every time I played it. There are also subtle nods to other popular games, such as the “A Frog’s Life” with a busy street to cross and a river with logs floating past at varying speeds, and “DaKongo”, which is a bamboo platform that occasionally drops barrels on you.
While the theme and environmental features are definite points in this game’s favor, there are a few drawbacks. The main one is that this game is the opposite of hand-holding; while its mechanics are fairly simple, and a “Training Mode” is available, there are no tutorials and no instructions beyond the Controls screen in the Game Settings. Additionally, these controls are not customizable, although the developer has responded by promising an update with customizable controls via the game’s Steam page.
Additionally, there is a notice on the game’s Steam page that recommend A Gummy’s Life be played with a controller rather than with keyboard and mouse. There are also some actions described in the Controls that seem ineffective or are just a little harder to figure out the correct use of without any kind of guide; punching and moving at the same time took me a minute to figure out, and I was never quite able to lift and toss my opponents in any effective way.
However, with minimal effort gameplay is easy to understand within the first few rounds, and AI opponents mean that you can get plenty of practice before playing with friends or online. The environmental factors can be leveraged to a player’s advantage, meaning that even if you can’t quite aim your attacks effectively, you can dodge and outlast the other players through things as simple as jumping between logs or waiting for the zombies to eat them all. And you will quickly discover that the “taunts” featured include the ability to dab. So take that as you will.
There may not be a true storyline and some players may feel as though they’ve been thrown in the deep end while mastering the controls, but the replay value is fairly high. It’s a creative take on fighting games that is really a feast for the eyes and can definitely kill some time when you’re hanging out with relatives you only see once a year. If you’re loading up on games during the Steam winter sale, this is definitely one to check out.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.