- Developer: Jumpsuit Entertainment
- Publisher: Ysbyrd Games
- Release Date: 28/03/2019
- Price: $11.99 / £8.99
- Review provided by Jumpsuit Entertainment
She Remembered Caterpillars is a colour-matching puzzle game set in a “fungipunk” (a phrase coined by the developers) world. Featuring gorgeous hand-drawn visuals, challenging puzzles, and a bittersweet story, She Remembered Caterpillars is an impressive game, but there’s a catch. The Switch version of the game contains a disappointing glitch that prevents you from completing it.
There are forty chapters (or levels) in She Remember Caterpillars, which are divided into seven acts. You move these fungi-like creatures called Gammies to reach discs that are blocked off by various obstacles. In the beginning, you only have a single obstacle and one or two Gammies to worry about. This lets you get comfortable with the game’s puzzles and mechanics. Caterpillar bridges serve as the main obstacle in early levels. The colour of these caterpillars represents the Gammie that can cross them. Further in, more colours and obstacles are thrown your way. Gammies come in primary colours of red, blue, and yellow, but they can eventually morph into one to create purple, orange, and green.
Morphing really adds some challenge and complexity to the levels, especially when caterpillars aren’t the only barriers you need to get your characters past. One of the obstacles introduced is coloured gates. Gammies who match the same colour of a gate cannot access them. For example, purple gates are inaccessible to purple, red, and blue. This means only yellow and white can use them.
The colour white makes an appearance in later levels. Gammies can go up to these paint stations that allows them to shed their respective colours and turn white, which grants them the ability to cross through all coloured gates. However, this also means they can’t cross bridges. You know the Fox, Hen, and Corn riddle? She Remembered Caterpillars is basically a variation of it, but with more characters and obstacles added.
She Remembered Caterpillars quickly increases its difficulty and complexity to make some truly perplexing puzzles. Some seemingly simple levels are sneakily disguised as real head-scratchers when you realise you have one Gammie left that can’t reach a disc. This happened regularly with me, and the aftermath usually involved a heavy sigh and a reluctant click on the ‘reset’ button to try again. The puzzles are wonderfully executed and extremely satisfying once you figure out the solution.
However, there is a slight issue with the controls in the game. Moving Gammies doesn’t feel too smooth or precise, often resulting in them not going where you want. In addition to this, morphing into other Gammies to mix their colours feels a little off. Quite often I’d have to move every one of my characters around to make sure I was morphing into the right one. Some parts of She Remembered Caterpillars aren’t as polished as they could have been, which rings true with the game’s other major flaw: glitches.
A Bug You Can’t Swat
The biggest downfall of She Remembered Caterpillars is the game-breaking glitch that prevents you from finishing it. In my experience, the game became unplayable after I completed the 34th chapter. Killing the app and restarting my Switch didn’t fix this and I was continuously met with infinite loading screens, frozen menus, and awful grinding noises whenever I pressed a button on my joycons. It was disappointing, as the rest of the game was great up until that point.
Looking online, this killer bug is a common issue that’s apparently only present in the Switch version. I emailed one of the developers to ask whether there’s a patch coming, and they confirmed that they are currently working on a fix. However, it’s not certain when this fix will be live. Until then, maybe don’t progress past the 33rd chapter. Or play a different version.
Moments of Calm
The story is quite vague in She Remembered Caterpillars. Rather than having a large impression on the game, you get these small snippets of text at the start of each chapter. They’re usually a bit of dialogue or a couple of thoughtful sentences to ponder as you play a level. I really liked this. I never fully understood what the plot was, but every so often, I’d be able to piece strings of text together that seemed to reveal more information about the game’s narrative.
From what I gathered, the story revolves around the relationship between a girl and her father. As a child, she and her father were incredibly close, but have drifted apart over the years. It is during this period that the girl’s father suffers from a neurological issue (perhaps a stroke) that has ceased all his functionality, putting him into a coma-like trance. For a large part of the narrative, the snippets you read are the girl speaking to her father, reminiscing of old memories. It’s also implied that the girl has medical knowledge and is attempting to rewire her father’s brain (which are the game’s puzzles) to return him back to his former state. Although ambiguous and a little confusing, it’s a poignant and heart-warming tale that works quite effectively.
Art Everyone Can Enjoy
Another highpoint of She Remembered Caterpillars is its visuals. The hand-drawn artwork looks gorgeous and make the levels such a joy to play (even when the puzzles are challenging). One of the levels had these large brown branches that sprouted pastel pink buds amidst a gloomy red background. It was stunning. The artwork in levels changes regularly enough to eliminate any feeling of repetition.
The visuals in She Remembered Caterpillars also make it accessible to players with colour-blindness. Each Gammie is not only distinguished by its colour, but also by its shape. The Red Gammie is block-like in appearance, while the blue and yellow Gammie are spherical and triangular. The difference in shapes also extends to when you morph two Gammies together. It shows Jumpsuit Entertainment’s attention to detail.
The music in She Remembered Caterpillars is also lovely. It isn’t overly loud or prominent, but it does add atmosphere. Your prime focus is on the puzzles, so the music has to be low and soft enough to make sure you don’t lose your train of thought. The game does a great job at delivering this. Parts of the soundtrack feature gentle, melancholy piano notes, with an occasional uplifting twinkle sound. Even when you’re sat still for a minute or two racking your brain for a puzzle’s solution, the art and music really make it difficult to be overly frustrated.
- Gorgeous visuals
- Lovely soundtrack
- Fun and challenging puzzles
- Unpolished controls