She Remembered Caterpillars is a mysterious dive into a somewhat gloomy but magical world. With a story that is purposefully obfuscated through numerous quotes at the beginning of each level, you’ll be wondering what this game is trying to tell you. Fortunately the puzzles which it offers aren’t nearly as ambiguous as it’s story, while still remaining very challenging indeed.
Only providing you textual explanations when it’s really necessary, Ysbryd Games present a puzzle game that starts off in a satisfyingly simple manner. You control any number of different coloured creatures, your goal to guide them to a white “take-off” pad. A blue creatures can only traverse blue bridges, and likewise with red creatures, however you can combine two primary colours together into one creature. This creature can cross any bridges containing it’s original colours. This gives you a nice foundation for a number of clever puzzles that sort of represent the classic chicken crossing puzzle. A few more additions are made to the puzzles as the game continues, but none of them waver from this basic concept.
The puzzles are designed in such a way, trial and error will rarely get you anywhere. Never will you experience the empty feeling of accidentally solving a puzzle through sheer brute force, as many other puzzle games. I frequently experienced the eureka moment you get when you solve a puzzle in your head before you complete the level.
This is a fantastic expression of good puzzle design. Frustrating puzzles often come from ambiguity of the underlying systems, when the player doesn’t fully understand the rules, or when the difficulty spikes too much and the solution feels out of reach. She Remembered Caterpillars successfully avoids this by drip-feeding you new systems to play with, and carefully adjusting the difficulty with each level.
Owing the lack of frustration I experienced, She Remembered Caterpillars is distinctly logical. As levels become more and more complex, you will use methods of deduction to figure out which coloured creatures must go where, from that information you can begin to unravel the puzzle in reverse. You will often convince yourself the solution is much more extravagant than reality, only to bang your head on the keyboard when you discover the actual solution was staring you in the face the entire time.
With it’s linear progression through a set of specific puzzles She Remembers Caterpillars is undoubtedly traditional. If you get stuck on a specific level, you must tough it through until you complete it, otherwise you can’t proceed. I’m not trying to pretend this is a bad thing, however later levels can become a bit daunting, when you know the only way to progress is forwards. Sometimes taking just a bit of time out just to make a cup of tea, helped me get into a different frame of mind, completing a puzzle I had been stuck on for 20 minutes in mere seconds.
For me at least, it wasn’t a game for long play sessions, I needed to give my mind a break. Perhaps it isn’t fair to compare She Remembered Caterpillars to the likes of The Witness, but the exploration gave your mind time to relax between puzzles.
The music and graphics are certainly well matched for a puzzle game. Environments are detailed but carefully colourised, only painting objects of importance with bright colours. The music has an unsettling mysteriousness about it too, managing to walk the line of being memorable but subtle, giving you the space to think of a solution to the puzzle in front of you.
She Remembered Caterpillars is a must play for anyone who enjoys traditional mind-boggling puzzles games. For those who often prefer a contextual story alongside their puzzle games, there is still a lot to offer here, but it isn’t at the forefront. The story is vague and very mysterious, a reflection of the world you solve these puzzles. It talks of experiencing the ups and downs of childhood, and coming to terms with the harsh realities of life.
She Remembers Caterpillars might be more suited to playing on a tablet, with your feet up sipping a cup of tea, but I still had a great time playing it on my computer. There isn’t any filler content to be found here, quality has been chosen over quantity. I hope you have a memorable time playing it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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