She Remembered Caterpillars Review
Poetry Between Pretty Puzzles
She Remembered Caterpillars takes players to
Through guiding a group of tiny, adorable woodland creatures through these secret places and puzzles, we'll learn to look closer, to cherish the details of the home they're leaving behind, and of the aspects of our own lives we'll gloss over until they're gone.
She Remembered Caterpillars
Developer: Jumpsuit Entertainment
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Release: January 17, 2017
Intel i5-4690K @ 3.50GHz
Nvidia GTX 970
She Remembered Caterpillars is gorgeous. Each of its puzzles takes place in scenes filled with natural growth, ruins, machinery, and miniscule life. They’re rich with details and hints of an unspoken story about the creatures’ world, and taking them in is a treat.
The creatures are also cute; fun to look at even if you’re hopelessly stuck. They all look different from each other, having varying appearances and colors. They sit, staring off as they wait for your guidance. They skip along the platforms when you click on where you want them to go. They’re adorable, and just being able to guide them around this place is fun on its own.
Good thing too, as you’ll spend a lot of time just staring at the screen because the game’s puzzles require you to guide the creatures around a map of tiles, leading them to platforms around the area. Once they’re all placed on a platform, they will float away, leaving this piece of home behind forever. To get them on these platforms, though, you’ll have to find the right path through specific obstacles that only certain creatures can bypass.
She Remembered Caterpillars features a handful of tiny beings, each different colors. Their color corresponds to certain types of things they can get around, as the living caterpillars that form bridges in these areas won’t allow any color but their own to pass. Several other types of beings will also keep all but a certain type of creature from passing, so you have to take a long time to look at each map and decide the only possible route to get everyone to a platform.
This gets complicated in several ways. Soon, you become able to join characters together to form different colored beings. Then other abilities get thrown into the mix as different types of creatures and caterpillars block your way. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but in using these varied blockades and abilities, the developers have created some really complex puzzles that will leave you staring at the screen for minutes on end, thinking of what to do.
Staring isn’t so bad, as you’ll also get to watch the creatures swaying there, waiting for you to move. They wave back and forth, the screen teeming with moving life. You might be frustrated with the puzzle, but there’s something soothing about watching these creatures in their natural habitat, swaying in the unseen breeze.
“a wonderful puzzler, challenging and charming and thoughtful, all at once.”
During this time, you’ll also be ruminating on the story. A tale of loss and grief is hinted at in snippets between scenes, told in a sentence or two. It’s sharp writing, managing to construct a plot from carefully-chosen dialogue, a single moment, or a hint at an event. It has a very short window to progress the plot with each completed level, but She Remembered Caterpillars squeezes in a thoughtful, deep storyline in only a few words. It’s poetry between puzzles.
And with all of the time you have to think about the puzzles, you will also have time to watch these creatures as you consider the story. How it connects loss with guiding a few little creatures around woodland maps. How they must work together to get to where they need to go, and yet they all go their own separate ways when they leave. There are hints at how we help each other, only to move apart. It can be irritating to get stuck in a puzzle game, but just looking at She Remembered Caterpillars‘s world and thinking of its story makes being unable to progress pleasant. It’s not being stuck, but more a gifted moment where you can pause and reflect.
She Remembered Caterpillars asks us to look, to think, to care, even when we’re stuck with a problem. When we’re too busy solving the issues of our own lives, it tells us to take the time to see the beauty of the world around us that we’re missing, or that there are people around us who can help. That sometimes, it’s only with those people that we’ll be able to solve those problems. It’s a wonderful puzzler, challenging and charming and thoughtful, all at once.