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The Girl and the Robot Review

The Girl and the Robot was developed by Flying Carpet Games, an independent studio that brings together former employees from EA, Gameloft, and Ubisoft.

Expectations were high, but talented employees delivered, having created a beautiful, albeit flawed, game about the power of friendships.

You play as a young girl who escapes from her cage and befriends a mysterious robot she can control through a unique pendant. Together, you’ll explore a fairy-tale world and attempt to escape a castle ruled by an evil queen.

As much as I totally loved the premise – and the first hour of gameplay – The Girl and the Robot’s opening is flawed, and sadly, that soured my experience with it.

First and foremost, the controls.

I didn’t come across any issues playing with a controller, except when came the time to fight. Blocking and attacking is triggered using the left and right bumpers respectively, but characters seem to lag when buttons are pressed at a faster pace. That leads to a frustrating experience: the pressing of a button should always translate into an instant reaction from your character, especially when the purpose is to block an oncoming attack or counter an attack.

Speaking of, the combat itself is bland. It’s limited to two weapons, sword or bow, and only three enemy types. That becomes repetitive after a while, and I wish that there was either a more diverse way to attack with a sword, other than the three-hit combo, or more variety in the attacks faced. One fight I did enjoy though, was the first boss encounter against an evil queen and her black robot. Something about that reminded me of the fight with Shadow Link, in Ocarina of Time… But that’s just me.

Then, and probably the biggest issue, is the silence that kills the mood. You only hear music in certain parts of the map; otherwise, the only ambient sounds are the character’s footsteps and the wind. And that’s a shame, especially when the music is absolutely beautiful! I had to go to the game’s Kickstarter page to listen to the entire soundtrack, and I would have loved this game 10 times over if I had actually heard half of those songs within the game! The soundtrack is reminiscent of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, and the developers did it no justice. They only included 4 out of 11 tracks in the game. Developers, if you’re reading this, please, please, PLEASE find a way to include the entire soundtrack in The Girl and the Robot. It’s one of your game’s best feature, and it would make the gameplay experience much better. No one wants to run around in almost complete silence for a handful of hours.

As for the story, the entire plot is told visually.

There is no dialogue or text, and you’ll learn through a series of portraits found throughout the castle. While this was done in a beautiful and effective way, some aspects of the storyline are still lost to me. Who’s the old man from the beginning? Why did he save the girl? What’s that pendant the girl uses? Where did it come from? What happened to her family?

I expected all of these questions to be answered by the end of the game, but the conclusion was so abrupt I’m left to wonder. To be fair, you’re left with a “to be continued,” but still: you always need closure in some shape or form, especially when we’re unaware of the release for the next episode. I’m under the impression that the developers wanted to release the game quickly, the game having been in development for 4 years. That’s sheer speculation though, don’t quote me.

The puzzles were well thought out, and required quite a bit of brainpower to figure out.

I also really enjoyed how the game showed you how to defeat the first boss via puzzles. I loved the characters’ design, and I loved the setting as well as the ambient, lack of music excluded. I can tell that a lot of inspiration came from Studio Ghibli.

6

The Verdict

If I had stopped at the first hour and not continued, this game would have gotten a higher rating. Unfortunately, the ending and the lack of the amazingly beautiful soundtrack ruined what was a fun and unique game experience.

Susana Valdes
Written by
August 23, 2016
Published in Adventure

Susana came into the gaming world a bit late in her life, but it hasn't stopped her from completely immersing in it. A die hard fan of the Assassin's Creed series, she hopes to broaden her horizons and fall in love with different gaming genres. She enjoys otome games (Japanese dating sims directed towards girls) and visual novels; she constantly fights to have Japanese games localized in the US. When she isn't playing games, she's usually reading a book or working as a freelance writer. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she hates the nightlife as much as it hates her.

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