Since I first saw She Remembered Caterpillars in development several years ago, I’ve been struck by game’s beautiful simplicity. Every screen is bursting with colorful backgrounds and characters in a fungipunk aesthetic. The puzzles in the game are also delightfully simple to understand, just not to master.
Ever since I played it in development, and when I read our team’s review of the PC version, I believed that this game would be enhanced by playing in a handheld situation. Each puzzle is presented on a single screen, with simple controls that make holding the puzzle literally in your hand the ideal way to play. As with many indie games finding a home on the Switch, with this week’s release, I believe we have the definitive edition of this game.
The game is presented in 40 stages, small dioramas floating in space with different colored bridges and gates interspersed across the paths. In the brightly colored fungal mazes are little creatures called Gammies. They are adorable in the same way Pikmin are, and you must guide them through the maze to little launch pads so they can sprout little adorable propellors and launch you to the next stage. But here come the rules: Red creatures can cross red bridges but not red gates, and the same rules apply to blue creatures, with their gates and bridges. All Gammies must be on their launch pads before you can progress.
Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy
If all this sounds complex, trust me, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The player will have to think several steps ahead, or even backward from the goal to succeed. I’ve had to step away from a few puzzles to come back later with a fresh perspective. The challenge ramps up nicely, and every stage is small enough you won’t be stuck forever if you keep after it.
The first few stages are relatively simple, each building on the complexity of the last. Of course, some curveballs are thrown in. Purple bridges and gates appear; how do you get past those? At this point, a new mechanic of combination is introduced. Two Gammies of different colors can stand next to each other and form a new Gammie that represents a mix of their two colors. For example, a red and blue Gammie can combine to form a purple Gammie to cross a purple bridge. If that Gammie came to a red gate, it would be blocked, but it could split back into two, so the blue Gammie could cross. Even later, a new color Gammie is introduced, for even more color combinations.
A Larger World
As sort of a reward between levels, a black title card appears with a short bit of dialogue that will have players eavesdropping on what appears to be one scientist’s quest to save her father.
As the chapters progress, more of this strange universe will reveal itself, and the outside story shows connection to the puzzles. What manner of cataclysm occurred here? Who are the players involved? And what exactly are the Gammies doing in these dreamscapes?
She Remembered Caterpillars is a game I could recommend to almost anyone. For a young gamer, the game teaches color theory and matching as well as strategic thinking and planning. Older players such as myself are always being told to play games like Sudoku to ward back memory loss and maintain critical thinking, and this is way more fun than numbers on a grid. The controls are literally just the thumbstick and a shoulder button to Switch (see what I did there?) between Gammies, so even those with little gaming experience should have no issues enjoying this game. I was concerned about someone with color blindness enjoying this game, but the developer actually already thought of this and addressed it!
Even though the game is colour-based it remains playable for the colour-blind without using filters. Inclusive game-design is still not common ground and especially when it comes to the combination of colours and symbols. Every colour in She Remembered Caterpillars is associated with a unique symbol where even mixing colours is possible: Combining a red square with a blue circle creates a purple D-shape! It is not immediately obvious but it works. We have confirmed this with Able Gamers and colour-blind playtesters. “
David Priemer, Jumpsuit Entertainment
I kind of just gave this away by saying how accessible it was, but I would recommend this game to anyone. I’m delighted it’s on the Switch so it can hopefully find a wider audience. I think many will enjoy it’s colorful presentation and easy to understand (but not always solve!) puzzles. This is what I consider to be a perfect “side” game, maybe not the big AAA game like Assassin’s Creed you play through in several weekends, but that nice game you curl up with on the couch and stretch your brain with a few nice little brain teasers.