REVIEW: ‘She Remembered Caterpillars’ is a Soft, Lovely, and Haunting Indie Puzzler (Switch)

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She Remembered Caterpillars

One of the great things about the Nintendo Switch is the increasing number of beautiful indie games that were released a while ago on Steam or other PC platforms but hadn’t made their way to those of us who love games but primarily play on consoles. More and more have been finding their way to the eShop tempting new audiences looking for something different.  One such game is She Remembered Caterpillars from Ysbryd Games and Jumpsuit Entertainment. Described as “a fungipunk fantasy about love, loss, and holding on” She Remembered Caterpillars is a lovely puzzler that takes you on a journey alongside a scientist trying to help her father. As you progress through the game, you get to see glimpses of her past and thoughts of the future.

The mechanics are pretty simple. You switch between different colored spores, each with a unique shape making the game accessible to those with vision issues, called gammies and try to get all of them to pods so they can ascend to the next level. The primary obstacles are bridges that only allow certain spores across and gates that block certain spores. Each level is a little island and you merge and de-merge the spores to traverse it.

Merging creates new shapes and colors, yellow triangle plus blue circle creates a green teardrop for example, that allows you to move across bridges singular colors can’t. You can use the touch screen to maneuver the spores but I rarely found myself doing so preferring to use the joystick and buttons. There are really only three buttons you need and the game itself is very intuitive.

She Remembered Caterpillars

The difficulty ramps up fairly quickly as more obstacles are introduced including bridges being toggled by placing other spores on switches, one way bridges for primary colors only, and once you get up into the 20s especially ( for clarity, there are 40 levels in total) it can be easy to get sucked into loops of color and realize you’ve just been moving the spores around in circles with no real progression for ages. There were a number of times I  had to walk away and come back with fresh eyes in order to beat a level.

Overall, She Remembered Caterpillars is a fun puzzler that’s very easy to pick up for a few minutes and put back down. I found myself playing it a lot while watching television and getting so absorbed with figuring out a level I’d completely miss what was happening on screen. The story that connects the levels is sweet and poignant. Watching it unfold is a great incentive to keep moving no matter how difficult a level can get.

While the story does add to the atmosphere of She Remembered Cateripllars, it doesn’t connect completely to the gameplay. Nominally each level is another step in the girl’s research as you move through the dreamscape and discover more of her thoughts but playing it doesn’t feel very integrated. It is a bit like a layered cake that hasn’t let the layers fully meld so there’s a clear delineation between cake and filling. This isn’t a big detraction really, the cake is still delicious after all, as everything about the game is soft and lovely all while still being slightly haunting. Cassandra Khaw is an excellent writer, a particular favorite of mine is her novella Bearly A Lady. Additionally, the music by Thomas Höhl is captivating and the art by visual designer Daniel Leander Goffin is gorgeous. The team is rounded out by game designer David Priemer, animator Zach Cohen and sound designer Christian Wittmoser.

She Remembered Caterpillars delivers exactly what was advertised, a weird little atmospheric puzzler that’s easy to get absorbed in. To seasoned gamers, always up on current releases it might not be as exciting as a brand new title like Baba Is You, but She Remembered Caterpillars is a great addition to the Switch lineup of puzzlers. It is beautiful and full of stealth feelings that there’s a new world of gamers ready to enjoy it.

She Remembered Caterpillars
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL; DR

She Remembered Caterpillars delivers exactly what was advertised, a weird little atmospheric puzzler that’s easy to get absorbed in. To seasoned gamers, always up on current releases it might not be as exciting as a brand new title like Baba Is You, but She Remembered Caterpillars is a great addition to the Switch lineup of puzzlers. It is beautiful and full of stealth feelings that there’s a new world of gamers ready to enjoy it.