The Girl and the Robot is one of the few games I’ve played which started as a Kickstarter campaign and was successfully released, not only on the platforms the campaign was for but also for others such as the PS4. The physical release of the game on PS4 also contains its soundtrack which is a very mellow and soothing soundtrack (if the game is anything to go by). It isn’t a very long game, but I found it very enjoyable and a good game to play when I just wanted to relax for a bit.
You start off in control of ‘the Girl’ who has been trapped in a tower by an evil queen. Upon escaping, with the help of a mysterious character, you quickly encounter an enchanted necklace which gives you full control over a robot which she uses to engage combat with the evil robots she encounters. You are now able to swap between both the girl and the robot at will in order to complete puzzles and escape the castle.
The game itself has been likened to Ico and Zelda, Personally, I’ve not played Ico but after seeing some gameplay footage, I can see why the comparison is made. However, I have played a lot of Zelda in the past and some of the puzzles within the game, even the graphics to some extent, remind me of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, as the game is a timeless classic and being compared to something like that can’t be bad! However, the combat doesn’t have quite the same feel as the puzzles but I’ll come to that later on.
Once you first start playing, you will notice how bright and colourful the game is. Everything seems to have a yellow tint which makes the environments much more vibrant and aesthetically pleasing. The game has gone for a style which is becoming quite common at the moment (although it wasn’t when the game first started development) where the textures and assets are quite simple and almost animation-like. The world has been created with a lot of care an attention which you really enjoy exploring, it also does a really good job of guiding you in the right direction even though this is a game with no dialogue, no signs and no written communication anywhere.
The puzzles within the game are very simple but also creative. The majority of them involve using both the girl and the robot to operate separate pressure plates to open doors or shooting targets with the robot so the girl can pass and hit a switch. This is where I got a flashback to Zelda as there are a few puzzles where you push around giant square blocks to place them on switches, this reminds me a lot of the common puzzles you got within Ocarina of time! The puzzles aren’t too hard to complete and nobody should have a difficult time figuring out where to go next – however, I did get a little lost in the Maze, but I guess that’s the whole point!
The combat is where the game falls short, the Girl has no attacks so if she meets an evil robot then it’s game over and it restarts from the last checkpoint – this wouldn’t be that bad but I ran around a few corners and straight into the enemy quite a few times as the enemies aren’t always in the same place upon respawn. The robot has two attacks, his sword and his bow, both of which aren’t great. The bow operates the same as earlier Resident Evil games in that as soon as you start to aim, you can’t move, you have to stand still and aim or stop aiming if you wish to move. Considering the enemies charge at you once you hit them once, this lack of movement doesn’t really help.
The sword attack also isn’t very useful, I understand that you are controlling a big robot and in real life, he would probably move a bit clunky and slow, but in a video game, it can get a little annoying. Luckily you learn how to block after a short while, unfortunately, this takes any strategy out of the fighting as all you need to do is block once the enemy hits you and then spam the attack button until the enemy is dead. You seem to have three stages to your health which are symbolised by your armour coming off, but if you do end up getting damaged then the girl can heal the robot by interacting with him – which I thought was a good idea, rather than having it as an auto-regen motion.
The game isn’t very long to complete, I would say about 3-5 hours depending on how quickly you pick up the combat and as long as you don’t get lost in the maze (Like me) but for the price they are asking I think this is fair. The one issue I have is the game appears to be part one (with more coming soon?) based on the ending. I didn’t like this in Tell Tales Game of Thrones and I don’t like it in TV shows and movies – personally, I like games to be self-enclosed experiences where it has a set beginning, middle and end. I don’t mind keeping the ending open for a sequel, but there have been too many media forms that I’ve been invested in which advertised a ‘coming soon’ which never happened. I just hope the devs take on board all the feedback they got from this first chapter and use it to create an even better part two.
The Girl and the Robot is a charming, speechless indie title which has had great success since it’s Kickstarter campaign. The story is interesting and the puzzles are fun enough to keep you entertained. If you can see past the issues with the combat then I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
The Girls and the Robot
- Well-designed characters and environments
- Interesting story
- Clever puzzles involving the use of both characters
- Nice soundtrack (Included if you buy the deluxe physical version)
- You can tell a lot of care and passion went into creating this game
- The bow fighting is a bit redundant as you can’t move and enemies run at you
- The sword combat is a bit clunky and repetitive once you have the ability to block
- The game is a bit short and doesn’t specifically ‘end’