Title: The Girl and the Robot
Company: Flying Carpets Games
Console:Nintendo Wii U (Originally on Steam)
Release Date:August 2016
How we got the game:We got a free digital download code from Miketendo64
The Girl and the Robot was the first game produced by Flying Carpets Games, funded by generous Kickstarters. It boasted an interesting gameplay dynamic between the two titular characters as well as a cute rapport between the girl and her robot friend.
The mechanics of the game comprised of switching between the girl and the robot, mostly in order to solve puzzles in the landscape to allow the heroes to move forward in their journey. While you played as the girl, the robot stayed put in place and vice versa. The girl was able to jump as well as being small enough to squeeze through certain areas, while the robot was the fighter of the two. Armed with a sword, shield, and arrows, the robot played the role of the girl’s protector.
We played on the Nintendo Wii U, so the controls on PC may differ, but for the Wii U, the controls were clunky at best. Every single button on the gamepad was used, including L, R, ZL, and ZR. The left control stick was to move the characters while the right one was used for the camera. The camera was not automatic so it was often hard if we had to make a quick getaway.
I myself kept mixing up the bow and shield buttons, often bringing out the shield when I wanted to ready an arrow. The controls, while clunky, did well in mimicking the way robots move. While the controls did get awkward, it was a challenge ensuring that the characters were moving how we wanted them to.
Yes, I did enjoy how the controls controlled like a robot. I do wish the camera mechanic was better, but it was doable. I found myself doing okay with the controls. In battles where it was six against one, it was challenging, but I did alright given the controls. It took some getting used to, but we managed.
This game had a minimalist style, at least on the Wii U. The graphics were definitely charming, showing off the robot’s mechanical moves and allowing the girl’s expressions to shine through during close-ups. The setting surrounding the characters wasn’t too expansive, giving players brief glimpses of what lay ahead in the isolated world.
The background graphics were very pretty. I did enjoy how you could only see a little bit ahead. Sometimes a doorway would show a bright light or darkness depending on the situation leading you to have no idea what was to come next.
The surroundings kept us intrigued, keeping us in suspense about what lay behind the next corner. More often than not, we kept the girl behind in a safe spot and scouted as the robot, terrified that an enemy would pop up in an attempt to make us get a game over. The music did well with the graphics, often being minimalist itself. Most of the setting seemed to be up in the sky, floating islands perhaps, and the music was quiet enough to reflect the peace and isolation.
We tried so hard not to get a game over, even though we had no lives, no health, or no continues. The “game over” didn’t mean anything. You just started back where it last auto-saved. Anyway, I did find the music enjoyable. Even though there wasn’t much music or sound at all, the sound effects were well done and the music that was there was calming.
The battle music could definitely be intense, and I really enjoyed the mood that music set for the fights! Coupled with the fact that you couldn’t see too far ahead in the journey, the sudden fight music heightened the suspense the player feels while playing. I found that the music and graphics were very well done.
The story is a tough one to figure out. The game starts off as the girl locked up in some sort of tower. After saving a bird, an old man opens the door for her. She ventures out, finds the robot and a pendant to control him, and then together they go on a journey together. However, there’s no dialogue or barely any explanation as to what exactly is going on.
We quickly learned that other robots that we encountered were only interested in recapturing the girl, presumably to lock her back up. The pendant is what gives the girl a rapport to the one robot that is interested in protecting her, his fighting skills and her flexibility allowing both to venture forth together. As we progressed through the deserted (aside from enemy robots) hallways, roads, and mazes, we catch glimpses of paintings and pictures depicting a royal family.
We’re assuming the girl is a “princess,” yet we still don’t know what happened. We don’t know why this one robot (who we named Leo) had any interest in protecting the girl and we also don’t know who the main antagonist. There were two boss battles, both with a woman who we’ve deemed the witch, but we don’t know who she is or what exactly she’s trying to accomplish. If anything, the bits and pieces we did get were intriguing enough to have us keep moving forward.
The Girl and the Robot was a quick game, able to be completed in just a few sittings if one really wished. While the story and characters were cute, I do not see myself picking it up again anytime soon. At the end of the game, it became apparent that this was only Act One of The Girl and the Robot, leaving me a little unsatisfied. If I get the inkling to play Act Two whenever that gets released, I may pick up Act One again to refresh myself with the beginning of the story.
I found the game to be enjoyable, even though it was short. It took us almost nine hours to complete, though some people have spent a much shorter time on it. If I want something simple minded to play, this was a cute game. The puzzles were interesting as well. Still, as Kris said, the ending was unsatisfying. Now that we know there is supposedly a second act, it makes sense, but we don’t know when that will get released. Being so short, it would have made sense to have one big game. Anyway, I look forward to the next game if only because I’m curious as to what the story really is about.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!