LifeisXbox’s Cuccchi Review | Cuccchi is the video game transformation of Enzo Cucchi’s imagination. Considered a “concept album”, a journey through different styles and visions that let you see the transformation through a dedicated art gallery displaying the original artworks. Developed and published by Fantastico Studio and Archivio Enzo Cucchi, you are able to walk, run, and explore the prolific paintings of Enzo Cucchi whilst collecting eyes to unlock the full set of 40 original paintings. However, avoiding the skulls is a must otherwise they will take the eyes you collect, thus losing a painting in the process. If you are familiar with Enzo’s work, you will know that the eyes and skulls are related well to the subject matter.
ℹ️ | We played Cuccchi for One Hour on Xbox Series S. This game is also available on Xbox One and S/X, Playstation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Steam, Microsoft Windows, and macOS.
What we liked!
- A faithful reimagining | Out of the 51 artworks to unlock you can traverse through a mixed 40 of Enzo’s work. Ranging from the ever-so creepy Sotto Lingua, and the Coraggio (Courage), which is made only creepier thanks to the animations in-game. The programmer Julian Palacios Gechtman has done a great job at making sure the visuals look and feel like the original artwork but also play and feel like a video game. This is no easy feat to achieve, but it has to be applauded for the effort that has gone in here. All in all, it’s a visual treat of distinctive styles that play with different 3D techniques.
- The Music | The music in-game is provided by Skinless Lizard and the tracks that are used here really add to the experience. Sombre guitars, mixed with low-fi Esque beats that will appeal to fans of Boards of Canada, Four Tet, and múm. Some trippy tracks also play towards some of the later levels that add a sense of vulnerability while playing. Couple this with being chased by a skull and you have a soundtrack that mixes well with the overall style of the game and remains true to its source material.
- Lots of Artwork to unlock | Gameplay aside, there are 51 secrets to unlock which can be found in the form of eyes (a staple of Enzo’s prolific art style) and each eye you collect unlocks a painting that Enzo has painted over the years. These can be accessed via the main menu which displays a high-quality 4k image of the artwork and details about each painting. This ranges from the materials used, the size of the painting, the year it was painted, and the story behind it. As a person who appreciates art and is also familiar with this artist, I appreciated this addition for many reasons. Not only does this add a lot of replayability to the game, but it also provides additional content for you to explore since the game knows it is short. This is the extent of additional content though, and I feel unlocking or having access to the soundtrack would have been a great way to add extra content to the game.
- Very Short | The game itself is very short and I completed it in just under an hour. Some of the levels are a lot shorter than others with other levels adding mazes to them, meaning for some people this will most likely be dragged out due to having to avoid skulls and find your way out o progress. Even the secrets that are placed in the world are not difficult to discover since invisible walls keep you from wandering off too far. A second playthrough would most likely see you 100% of the game since you can track your progress from the main menu and select only the levels that need replaying. In my first playthrough, I managed to find 48 out of the 51 collectibles and the two that I missed were the two times I was unlucky enough to be grabbed by skulls.
- 40 paintings but 7 levels | Despite having a lifelong artwork portfolio of 40 paintings, you would be hard-pressed to remember them all. Some of the levels are blended too abruptly to experience them all. I found that most of the areas explored focus mainly on the well know pieces and blend the smaller pieces into a passing road or background. For those of you attracted to the game because of the artist himself, you will find a lot has been compressed here to make all 40 paintings fit into the world. My advice here would have been to extend the game by another hour and focus on some more of the artwork. Since this is a niche game and your target audience is limited, it would have made sense to lean into this more and give the players a more satisfying Enzo Cucchi experience.
What we disliked
- Can be very disorientating | The biggest issue I had playing the game was how disorientating it can be. The 2D sprites move around the world which focus on your viewpoint so as not to have full 3D graphics. Some of the scenery moves in the opposite direction and combining this technique is like looking left whilst moving right, creating a very weird feeling which can leave you feeling a little sick. In some of the later levels especially the ones focusing on Enzo’s late 90’s work, I found the level design to be very confusing and lacking any sort of direction. “Paese amato” which sees buildings moving in the wind, eyes watching you and a cow flying through the sky was one such instance where it took a good 10 minutes to figure out what I should be doing.
- Unclear where to go | As mentioned above, the game could have implemented a waypoint system or a visual cue to show where the player should go, or where they recommend you should explore. I keep touching on this point, but for the niche market that this game is aimed towards, it would be a great idea to have this feature since the main selling point is the artwork and for people to experience that in new media. Having people just aimlessly float around looking for where to go was very frustrating at times.
- It’s very niche | I mentioned the target audience before, and I feel with this game in particular that is exactly what this game is aimed at. If you pick this up intending to have a similar experience with other games, you would be wrong. There isn’t anything else like this on the market which is why I feel that this is more of an archiving strategy for the artist’s work to survive in the modern-day. The game itself could be considered art, but as touched upon earlier, the game was funded by Archivio Enzo Cucchi, and releasing it is probably a small way of recouping some money on the project, but even that isn’t the end goal here in my eyes. This is more of a personal project to the artist and the investors.
- The Controls | The controls are very simple, left and right analogue stick to move and right bumper to move faster. That’s it. However, it was confusing since the tutorial at the beginning said to interact and collect eyes with the “A” button. That turned out to be incorrect, as the first eye I saw didn’t respond at all to my input and simply walking over the eyes collected it. The controls could have been simplified even more in my opinion as there wasn’t a need to have the RB button allocated for faster moving. The increase was subtle and didn’t find I needed to use it, even when I was being chased by skulls.
How long to beat the story | 1 Hour
How long to achieve 1000G | 3+ Hours
Similar with | Playstation 1 low poly esque games. The 2D sprites, vertex snapping, and pixel shader are very reminiscent of the times
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.