By Charlotte “Charlie” Humphries
This game needs to be on your wish list because, while still only in its pre-Alpha state, The Girl and the Robot demonstrates the confidence and know-how that puzzle games seem to have lost over the years.
The game features two protagonists: a girl and a robot – no surprise there – which you can switch between at the press of a button. Your goal? To escape the evil queen’s castle. Sounds simple, true, but nothing is ever as easy as it sounds. Your way is blocked by enemy robots – the evil queen’s servants – and plenty of platforming puzzles. Do not fear, though. The combination of the Girl and the Robot’s skills means that there is hope.
The puzzling know-how comes to the fore when using the two characters to solve puzzles and so move to the next area. It is their restrictions that make The Girl and The Robot such a pleasure to play.
While you control the little girl you cannot engage in combat. Only the robot – armed with sword and bow – can defeat the other robots patrolling the castle. This means you will have to be extra vigilant when skipping about as the Girl: one step too close to an enemy and it’s game over. However, she can crawl into small spaces, opening up areas that the Robot cannot access, and so continue solving puzzles and moving the story along. These simple, well-thought-out mechanics are your only tools in solving complex puzzles. As an added bonus, to smooth out the transition from area to area, the Robot can carry the Girl. I’m wondering whether this may be part of the puzzling mechanics later on in the game. Either way, it sure is a little, neat, time-saving addition.
The beautiful, hand-painted design of The Girl and The Robot is reminiscent of fairy tales and child-like innocence. The enemy robots are fitted out in shades of purple and grey, contrasting with the Robot’s own golden armour. The Girl’s simple attire is a stark reminder of her youth and lack of means to defend herself when not controlling the Robot. Combine all these elements together and you have a setting that is a visible representation of some pretty key themes: friendship, courage and hope.
The Girl and The Robot deserves a firm place on wish lists. Be patient as it is still in its pre-alpha stage, but all indicators point towards a worthwhile wait. Bringing together complex themes through visual means and a great soundtrack by Eiko – it will put you in mind of old favourites Shadow of The Colossus and Final Fantasy – this is shaping up to be a strong contender for one of the best puzzle games available.
Game : The Girl and the Robot
Developer : Flying Carpets Games
Platforms : PC / WiiU
Current Status : Alpha
Release Date : Unknown