Billed by its developers as a “…fungipunk fantasy about love, loss, and holding on, told in the format of a colour-based puzzle game…” She Remembered Caterpillars is both beautiful and melancholy. On every level, you control a handful of colorful creatures called gammies and you have to get each of them to their own pad within the level. Once they are all settled in, they fly away, up to the next stage.
Each gammie is a different color and can only go across bridges that share their color and through gates that are of different colors. This is accomplished – and made more complicated – by your ability to join to gammies together to form a third color. So a red gammie and a blue gammie form a purple gammie, which can go over purple, red and blue bridges but that can’t go through red or blue gates. This makes every level a completely different challenge as you try and figure out the correct path and order for each of your gammies. The game eases you into the mechanics, but once you get into the double digit levels the challenge definitely ramps up.
It’s a bit strange to consider a puzzle game as having a story and whether or not that’s something that is even necessary. But every chapter in She Remembered Caterpillers opens with a scrap of text that fits together into a greater narrative, a narrative that apparently evolved over the development of the project, weaving itself into the games core. According to the developers, the game was originally a “…retelling the Isis and Osiris myth through as post-apocalyptic fungipunk tale.”
After writer Cassandra Khaw’s father died during development, the game was retooled to instead reflect how Khaw “…wanted to talk about grief and about bereavement and losing your parents: deaths are inevitable in everyone’s lives.” The team hoped that this might serve as a jumping off point “…that enables a discourse between children and parents about life, illness, and death”, due it’s family friendly nature. Although this juxtaposition between bright, colorful graphics and a story based around death might seem out of place, at least through the first couple of acts I think it really works.
Normally I would attempt to just push through a game like this so I could finish it up and write a final review, but She Remembered Caterpillars somehow seems that it deserves a slightly more introspective approach. In addition, puzzle games aren’t exactly my forte, so it might take a couple of days and perhaps some help from my wife, who has a far better eye for them. But considering the time I have spent with it so far, She Remembered Caterpillars is a game that is definitely worth trying out if you like a challenging puzzle or an interesting story.