Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Girl and the Robot Review (Nintendo WiiU)

Written by: Patrick Orquia

Title: The Girl and the Robot
Publisher: Flying Carpet Games
Developer: Flying Carpet Games
Genre: Action-adventure, RPG, puzzles
Release Date: May 26, 2017 (Wii U eShop)
No. of Players: 1 player
Price: $9.99

No, this game is not related to the song of the same name by Royksopp and Robyn, which would have been very impressive since that song is awesome and one of my favorites. But unlike that song, this game, though ambitious in scope and a tiny bit of that vision can be glimpsed in miniscule doses from time to time in the game, is not very awesome and certainly not my favorite.

The Girl and the Robot is about a nameless girl imprisoned in a tower of a castle ruled by an evil queen. One day, an old man sets him free, which started the girl’s adventure to go out into the world. But she can’t do it on her own. Very early into the game, she discovers a magical wand that can control a big robot. Together, they conquer the challenges that they have to face in order to escape the evil queen.

The game is similar to the 3D Zelda games, albeit the path that the characters need to take is much more linear. There are puzzles that they will encounter along the way, and they have to work together by hitting switches or going through different walkways or doors alternately in order to solve them. Aside from the puzzles, there are also some robotic enemies that try to stop them. The girl cannot fight, so the robot, which is armed with a sword, a bow, and a shield, has to go through new paths first for it to eliminate the enemies before the girl can proceed. On the other hand, the girl can jump on platforms and windows and go through small holes, which the robot cannot do. These differences in abilities make the two complement each other quite perfectly.

As I mentioned earlier, this game is quite ambitious, but unfortunately, the developers are unable to fully realize that in the game. As a whole, it feels more like a glorified demo than a finished game. The animation for the lead characters and the enemies looks very unnatural, despite the character designs being somewhat good, very much inspired by anime. Also, there are almost no sound effects in the game; they sound either very faint or absent at all. There is a musical score, but like the sound effects, it is mostly absent in the game. The musical score sounds good, though, mostly composed of minimalist piano sounds, but again, it’s mostly not there.

The biggest flaw of the game, and I think it is close to being false advertisement, is that it is NOT complete and ends with a hugely disappointing cliffhanger. Apparently, the complete name of the game is “The Girl and the Robot: Act 1”, and it only appears as the complete title at the end of the game. With a bit of internet research, I found out that this indeed how the game is packaged, and this Wii U version is no different from the previous versions released on Steam and other consoles. Act 2 will be released at a later date, and will contain a different storyline. That just sucks, and I sort of feel bad for anyone who have paid for this incomplete game. I wish the developers took more time to at least polish the game. Cliffhangers happen on games, but most of those other games have better quality. This game has a big cliffhanger that pretty much undoes everything that the player has done throughout the game, and it looks and sounds pretty bad. I hope someday there will be like a definitive, COMPLETE edition of the game, with all acts included. I want to like the game, because it has a good game mechanic and it does provide awesome game moments from time to time, but as a whole, I just can’t recommend this game to anyone. There are much better indie games out there for the same price.

REPLAY VALUE: low (though this game could be ideal for speed runs)

  • Good visuals, game mechanics, level design, and musical score
  • Inspired by anime in character design
  • The maze part is the highlight of the game, which hints of what the game could have been if only it is more polished

  • The game as a whole feels like more of a demo that a finished game
  • Lacks general appeal and quality 
  • The sound effects are either very faint or completely absent, same with the musical score
  • The animation looks bad
  • The enemies lack variety and all of them have very predictable move sets that provided little to no challenge to the player, even in big numbers
  • Hugely disappointing ending that pretty much undoes what the player has done in the game
  • The Wii U gamepad is not utilized, it just shows a picture, and the game doesn’t offer off –TV gameplay
  • Quite short; can be completed in 3-4 hours
  • With the game’s overall quality in consideration, it is quite pricey

RATING: 2/5 robot sword slashes