She Forgot About Dre
[Update 05/17/19: A recent patch has fixed the glitch mentioned in this article. You can find more information here.]
Indie puzzle platformers are a dime a dozen nowadays, but I honestly can’t get enough of them. I’ve played so many games that copy the formula from Braid, yet I keep coming back for more. The reason is fairly simple: they put gameplay first and let the mechanics do the talking.
There might be a vague semblance of plot or some ludicrous art style, but these types of games don’t waste your time. They explain organically through level design, test your knowledge of the mechanics set forth, and ramp up in intensity before gracefully moving onto the next gimmick. It’s hard not to fall in love with that type of design, even if it can occasionally be grating.
For the most part, that is exactly what She Remembered Caterpillars is. Developed by Jumpsuit Entertainment, this quirky puzzle platformer sees you controlling weird plant-like creatures with the goal of getting them to an exit point. To reach that exit, you’ll need to match the color of each plant with specific bridges so that they can navigate the mazes before them.
As you progress through each act of the story, new mechanics get introduced. You’ll start with red and blue plants, but then get yellow ones and even have the ability to combine two different colors to create a third one. If you’re colorblind, that’s not even a problem. Each color has a distinctive shape on it, so you’ll be able to decipher what the game wants even if you can’t distinguish colors.
Bits later on in the game allow you to remove the color from your plant guys and replace it with another (or have them walk around plain). Leaving one plant on a switch to activate a temporary bridge and walking others across it is also a routine mechanic. Some bits require you to strategically move certain colors since they won’t be able to walk across a bridge without being combined.
It’s all very involved and can become a real head-scratcher. At times, I would need to turn off the game and map out how I wanted to move each character to come to a solution. If that failed me, I would often let the game sit and listen to the atmospheric music to get my mind in a soothed state. It’s extremely relaxing, even in the moments where you feel completely hopeless.
Visually speaking, there’s a wonderful art style that is all hand drawn. The frames of animation are a little stiff, but the colors pop and everything looks very distinct. Even the cropped screens I’ve captured from my Switch look absolutely gorgeous, but seeing this on the console’s little screen is incredible. Blowing it up to an HDTV is truly a sight to behold.
There are multiple ways to control She Remembered Caterpillars. Being based on a mobile title, you’re able to use the Switch’s touch screen while in portable mode. You’ll click on whichever critter you want to move and then click anywhere on the level to move them. Combining colors is done by simply clicking on the partner you want to combine with. The game was clearly made around this type of interface, but the gamepad controls don’t feel too bad. Opting for the joy-con has you moving characters with the left joystick, changing your selected character with L or R, and interacting with objects by pressing A. Combining colors is done with X when standing next to another, which can sometimes be cumbersome.
The game also sports a solid difficulty curve. A few puzzles in the middle are harder than later ones, but you’re slowly introduced to each mechanic in relatively safe parameters before the game throws you puzzles that can be rendered unsolvable. Having a restart option available without pausing gives you plenty of incentive to keep on trying, which can suck away quite some time if you’re not careful.
So if I’m singing all kinds of praises here, why isn’t this a proper review? Well, sadly, She Remembered Caterpillars is currently unbeatable on Switch. Maybe it’s due to the SD Card I’m using or the version of my console, but I cannot finish the game. It’s not because I’m so stumped that I’ve hit a roadblock, but because the game will not load anything past level 34.
I got into a nice groove and was making quite the progress during my last play session. I looked up how many levels were present and noticed the description said around 40. Since I was currently on level 30, I figured I would just finish it off, but the game had other plans. Cue an endless loading loop after finishing level 34. I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling the game, powering off my console, putting it on the dock, and moving the game to internal storage. Nothing has remedied my problem.
This issue seems to only plague the Switch release, too. If you look up puzzle solutions, there are videos of people completing the remaining levels in the game. Obviously, the mobile and PC versions are beatable, but the poor Switch version is stuck with an ugly bug. I want to keep going, but I’m at an impasse.
I’ve reached out to Jumpsuit Entertainment, but I haven’t heard anything back. Until some kind of patch comes out, I cannot recommend anyone grab this version of the game. It’s fine on any other platform, but not being able to complete the Switch version renders it a dud. I wish that weren’t the case, because clearly a lot of love and care has gone into crafting this experience.
Maybe this is just a weird fluke like the Piranha Plant Smash glitch that only impacts some players, but wait until further notice before picking up She Remembered Caterpillars.
[This write-up is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]