At its core, The Girl and the Robot is single-player puzzle/adventure game about two different people (or a robot, in this case) working in tandem to navigate a magical kingdom in the sky, avoiding enemies and solving puzzles in order to proceed. There isn’t much story to go on. There is no talking, to text, no story whatsoever, actually. The only narrative you’ll get is what you glean from the surroundings as you venture through them, occasionally coming across portraits depicting scenes of what I assume is the history of the world the game is set in.
The girl is locked up in a tower in the sky until one day; a mysterious old man opens her door, allowing her to leave. After a few minutes of walking, she comes across a magical amulet that allows her to take control of a nearby robot in a cage. From here on in you are able to switch freely between the girl and the robot. You’ll be working as a duo to open up pathways by using typical puzzle tropes, like having one character stand on a pressure-sensitive switch to hold a door open while the other runs through. The girl can jump and climb into small passageways, while the robot can use his bow to hit faraway targets/switches. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses that the player will need to use in order to finish the game. You don’t need to worry about too much brain-strain, however. The only thing that provided a challenge was the big labyrinth near the very end of the game. Most of the puzzles in the game are boring and not very fun to solve, though maybe there are people out there prefer these kinds of puzzles.
The game does feature some combat instances, though it all feels rather clunky. The robot can chain up to three strikes, but there is a noticeable lag between them, giving the attacks jerky look and feel. You have a shield that can block the oncoming attacks and then allow you to counter with the sword, plus a bow and arrow, although it isn’t very useful once the enemies get up in your robotic grill. There are only three types of enemy robots that you will come up against, excluding the boss fight midway through the game. The first is a basic robot much, like the girl’s robot. They’re easy enough to take out even when facing a couple at the same time. The second is a heavily armored bot with a spear. They tend to block a lot, and if you face more than one at a time you’ll be in trouble. Last is a glowing suicide robot that charges you and explodes. The girl and the robot have a symbiotic relationship. If an enemy robot gets near the girl, they capture her and it is game over. Pieces fall off of the robot whenever he takes damage, but the girl possesses the ability to repair him using the amulet. So the robot protects the girl, and in return, the girl fixes up his damage. This mechanic offers up yet another way for the two to work together, reinforcing the idea of togetherness.
The overall aesthetic of The Girl and her Robot is minimalistic. The graphics looked kind of bad to me at first, if I’m going to be honest here. But as I played a bit longer, I started to appreciate them more. The character models and backgrounds aren’t very detailed, while the color scheme is full of bright and beautiful colors. The end result is a look that is both simple and easy on the eyes. The soundtrack is very much the same. The music is sparse. Oftentimes you’ll hear nothing but the sound of the rushing wind. However, when the music does appear, it does so to great effect, whether it is the tense theme that plays when engaged in combat or the soft piano music that whispers into existence when a beautifully blue, cloud-filled vista comes in to view.
Normally I don’t complain about game length, but in this case, I must make an exception. This game is short, too short. It can be beaten in about two hours, and to top it off, it ends with a cliffhanger. Only two hours long and you can’t even get a conclusion to the game, with no promises of there even being a sequel in the works. Something like this could be overlooked if a game offered something special, like an amazing story; intense gameplay; etcetera. However, aside from the pleasing graphics and soundtrack, the entire premise of The Girl and the Robot is boring. Unless you are a die-hard puzzle fan just looking for a fix, there isn’t much reason to play this: especially with all the huge blockbusters on the horizon.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review
Final Score: 5/10
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