I’m a big fan of the puzzle genre and love it when a game brings something quirky and unique to the table as far as the main mechanics are concerned, so She Remembered Caterpillars appealed to me from the get go. The cute visuals alone had me intrigued to check the game out, but the fact that it also blends together clever colour-based enigmas with a need to carefully plan your each and every move left me eager to try solving its many conundrums.
It certainly provides a challenging puzzle-solving experience too, though I’ll admit that at times I felt like I bit off more than I can chew. She Remembered Caterpillars is certainly an entertaining game, but it’s one that’ll stress the brains of even the brightest of gamers.
She Remembered Caterpillars’ main gameplay is based around leading little creatures known as Gammies across a variety of different levels to reach their end goal. Each Gammie has a colour associated to it though and that can be a hindrance – Gammies can only cross over bridges that match their own colour for example, whilst they can only head through gateways that don’t match their own. The player is essentially tasked with finding the right route through each level that best corresponds with each Gammie’s colour. It sounds simple on paper, but believe me, with the sheer complexity and size of the later levels it can be a real ask.
There are also more complicated mechanics thrown in the mix for good measure, such as the fact you have to combine Gammies to make different colours. See a purple bridge in your path? You’ll need to combine red and blue Gammies together to cross it. Find yourself blocked off by a purple gateway when you’re across? You better split them apart into blue and red Gammies again to get them through. It might sound a little complicated, but it’s actually a simple enough process and it’s very easy to get to grips with. In fact, in many ways She Remembered Caterpillars is one of the most accessible puzzlers I’ve played – there’s even an emphasis on shapes and symbols so that colour-blind gamers can even enjoy the experience which is certainly a neat addition to the game.
The fact that She Remembered Caterpillars is accessible doesn’t mean that it’s going to be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, and believe me, it can feel impossible to solve some of the puzzles. There are forty levels in total and they all get progressively more difficult, though I found myself close to tearing my hair out at roughly the half way point. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because there is a sense of logic to each level’s design and a mixture of planning and trial-and-error can see you progress over time, but it’s still hard not to find yourself feeling a little frustrated at times.
Still, when that eureka moment kicks in and you finally reach the end of a level that’d had you stumped for the last fifteen minutes it’s hard not to feel a deep sense of satisfaction… until you move onto the next and get stuck for another quarter of an hour. There’s no denying that She Remembered Caterpillars is cleverly designed and that its mechanics are fun – it’s just tough as nails too.
Visually, She Remembered Caterpillars manages to offer a dream-like vibe where it’s hard not to get drawn into the strange yet attractive environments. The Gammies themselves are pretty cute too, whilst the vibrant colours on show throughout ensure that you’re always looking at something pretty. I was a fan of the aesthetic and it worked well to offer enough detail to keep you intrigued by the world but not too much that it acts as a distraction to the puzzle solving.
I’d be remiss not to mention the little story details throughout the game, with an on-going monologue that takes place in-between each chapter. I don’t want to go into too much detail here and I think a lot of it is open to interpretation anyway, but it adds an extra layer of depth to the game where the struggles that each puzzle pose can be relatable to a tragic relationship between a man and his daughter. It might not be for everyone, but I found it to be quite a touching addition to the experience.
She Remembered Caterpillars offers an enjoyable and charming experience, though it’s one that’ll really push your puzzle-solving skills to the limit. Sure, the mechanics themselves are simple enough and it never feels unfair in design, but the sheer complexity of some levels sees it balance on a fine line between frustration and satisfaction – there’s no doubting that it may be a little bit too much for some gamers.
Those who stick with it will have a good time though and it’s clear that a lot of care and effort went into crafting the surprisingly poignant puzzler. If you fancy a crack at some brain teasers and aren’t put off by getting completely stuck on puzzles for a while, She Remembered Caterpillars may well be the game for you.
Developer: jumpsuit entertainment
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC