With the Switch essentially being a hub for indie games, what with torrent of games both new and old, well-known classics and overlooked gems alike constantly coming out for Nintendo’s portable-home console hybrid, it’s become a good place to try out games you might have missed the first time around. Case in point, She Remembered Caterpillars, a puzzle game about love and loss released back in 2017.
She Remembered Caterpillars sees you move small plant-esque creatures around each stage trying to figure out how to get them to the exit tiles. Each gammy has a color assigned to it, which dictates what paths they can cross and what gates they’re able to pass through. Red creatures can cross red bridges but can’t move through red gates, for example. So to get past the gate, you’d have to combine one with another and find a way around. For instance: while a red one can’t cross red gates, a blue one can. Combine them and you get purple. Purple creatures can’t cross red, blue, nor purple gates, but they can cross any bridge that has any of those three colors.
It’s a simple enough premise that’s easy to grasp. She Remembered Caterpillars is careful not to up the ante too quickly, steadily introducing new mechanics and letting you get accustomed to their workings before mixing and matching them in clever ways. Soon enough the game becomes quite difficult as solutions begin to require more forethought. In the first few chapters, the puzzles come together naturally. One glance at the board makes it clear which plant-like creature goes where. In later levels, that’s… not the case. I can’t count the number of times I had to sit and stare at the screen for several minutes running through different scenarios in my head, trying to figure out where I was going wrong, waiting for that eventual breakthrough. Like any good puzzle game, those moments are where it shines brightest.
All the while, between levels you’re treated to bits and pieces of conversation about someone trying to save their father from, presumably, a fatal disease of some sort. The puzzles seemingly act as a visual representation of that process, as indicated by the intro dialog to one level. As the story progresses, things shift from what might hope to be a hopeful tale toward one of loss and acceptance. It’s to the writing’s credit that it can manage to be moving despite how slight the storytelling is. Snippets of dialog at the start of each level and on the level select screen for each chapter are all you get, but it’s enough to get the point across.
Puzzle games are often at their best when they can challenge without making you feel utterly lost. She Remembered Caterpillars is able to strike that balance perfectly. It’s puzzles are a delightful challenge, but never to the point of being opaque, making it a more easy-going experience. Precisely the perfect kind of puzzler for the Switch. Or it would be, were it not for one unfortunate bug that makes the final level inaccessible.
Every time I’ve tried loading stage 35, the game never progresses past the loading screen. As of this writing, it still happens. It’s a quality port otherwise, but until that bug is fixed, I’d caution against picking this version up (the other versions do not seem to have this problem). We’ll update this review if and when this problem is fixed.