Sunday, January 22, 2017

Indie Impressions - She Remembered Caterpillars

She Remembered Caterpillars

Now Available on Steam

Developed by jumpsuit-entertainment


The spirit of nature is both the giving and the taking of life, the color of growth and the greyness of decay. Just as natural as it is for things to be born and develop into full beings, it is natural for them to wither and die. There's nothing necessarily negative about this cycle, as touched on in She Remembered Caterpillars, as death creates space and circumstances for new and possibly stronger life to be created.

This cycle is communicated through the story of a father explaining this hard to grasp routine of life and death to his daughter, and through the colorful and addictive gameplay. As small snippets of the story are told to us through bits of dialogue, our eyes are treated to a visual feast of vibrant organics and the small creatures who inhabit them named "Gammies".

She Remembered Caterpillars first and foremost is an absolute treat for the senses. With a gorgeous and colorful hand drawn style that looks like something out of a bestselling picture book, and a powerful sound design that evokes the mysticism of a forest untouched by human exploration. From the whimsical and almost fantasy-like usage of organics to the usage of the small and cute spores who act as spirits of nature itself, She Remembered Caterpillars gives a playful yet raw atmosphere of the more mysterious side of the natural world. Each screen is an entire work of art, and each work of art is the stage in which you navigate your small and color coded spore species.

Bridges can only be crossed by Gammies of the same color, and gates can only be passed by Gammies of the opposite color. And where things really get complicated is where you can combine Gammie's colors to make a new color that can pass through bridges any of its base colors but is still sectioned off by gates of another color. It's actually very hard to put into words and as I attempt to try I realize that this is a game that has to be "felt" to really get the full picture with, as you learn with every mistake how to utilize the combination of colors to properly navigate the vibrant fungal forest and sanctuary of spores.

Though the two games are wildly different in execution, I couldn't help but think of Pikmin while playing She Remembered Caterpillars. Perhaps it was the adorable and iconic 'Gammie' creatures that play a part as guardian spirits of this fungal world, or the focus of color co-ordinated logical thinking, or the fact that it all takes place in a living and breathing natural world that acts and reacts as a part of the game itself. Whatever it was, I felt a special sense of nostalgic mysteriousness from a time where gaming seemed more unpredictable, fresh and new to my young mind.

Some games are made to be experiences that leave a lasting impression, and some games are made with the intention of purely being fun to play. She Remembered Caterpillars is a rare occasion where both are achieved.

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