Earlier this year, whenever I’ve stumbled upon a US only PlayStation title, I’d be excited to give it a go. And this is because a large portion of indie games, native to the US of A, would often be released there first, and would come weeks, if not months later to the EU. However, as the overall quality of the low-end indie games declined, so did my enthusiasm towards them, and these days, even when a title looks like a AAA release, I am wary of its true nature. And The Girl and The Robot, is one of such titles.
On the outside, The Girl and The Robot looks just like a fun, and quirky fantasy adventure game. Its Pixar-like art style, in conjunction with soft and pleasant to the eye colour scheme, makes one feel like it’s a perfect game – as it looks nothing like the impactful and depressing titles which are currently having a stranglehold on the industry. However, the initial impressions, which many will develop mainly from trailers and other promotional materials, will dissipate the second one will get a chance to experience The Girl and The Robot first hand.
In reality, The Girl and The Robot is nothing like the pleasant and cheerful game it pretends to be. The story, does spiral down the classic ‘oppression’ route, but what makes The Girl and The Robot truly depressing is its current state, as it simply doesn’t feel like a finished game.
The Girl and The Robot feels and plays just like an early access title, if not like a Kickstarter demo. Every single component of the game feels raw and unfinished. And the first major downside to this particular title, which one will notice the minute he/she begins the main story, is the fact that all the animations are of incredibly poor quality. And each and every mobile NPC or hostile, moves like a string-controlled marionette. In fact, the marionette like qualities are not limited just to the animations, as The Girl and The Robot control scheme is just as clunky and unintuitive.
First of all, I need to congratulate the developers of The Girl and The Robot on the controller mapping, as both the girl and the robot are easy to control – on paper. In reality, both the in-game protagonists control as easily as a twenty-ton truck on square wheels. There is always a visible delay between the press of a button and the action taking place on screen, and it doesn’t matter if you are swinging your sword or simply trying to move forward, the delay is always there. And that makes it even worse, is the fact that any action requiring a turn is literally impossible, as characters can’t interact with the environment while turning, and this causes every single fight between you and hostiles to look completely demented.
At times, the titular robot may be standing metres to the left or to the right, of his target, but as neither you or the other robot can turn while attacking or defending, you both just stand there flailing your swords, hoping that sooner or later either of you will go down. In short, the mechanical side of The Girl and The Robot is simply bizarre, especially when one takes into the consideration the fact that the titular girl can infinitely bunny-hop at breakneck speed. But even though her mobility in motion is fairly rapid, while standing still or while walking, she moves like a German tiger tank, as every turn takes her forever to execute.
While solving puzzles or traversing the environment, the laughably poor mechanical aspects of the title can be overlooked, as you are never required to act fast. But there comes a point, where you’ll either have to defend the girl, or fight a boss, and at that point you’ll realise how truly horrendous the controls really are. And this could be salvageable, if not for the fact that the entirety of The Girl and The Robot, is like a two-hour long escort-quest where every mistake ends with a Game Over screen. And in turn, forces you to complete the same section of the title multiple times, while being chased by a swarm of robots, or while fighting a floating witch.
In truth, The Girl and The Robot is just like all the other US only PlayStation titles – incomprehensibly poor. And despite of its minimalistic visual façade, which could pass on a good day, and the rather interesting puzzles, it is still a sub-par game. Some will surely get some entertainment out of it, especially if they were a fan of titles such as the original Jack and Daxter, which had similarly clunky control mechanics. But even then, they’ll surely not overlook the disappointing level design, lack lustre story, and the infuriatingly painful insta-death system. Even if one would like to say something purely positive about the title, it is simply not possible, as The Girl and The Robot is so poorly developed, that it suffers from technical problems such as frame-rate drops, despite of its simplistic visuals. And this may be because The Girl and The Robot, is simply a title which should still be in development, as it screams early-access from a mile away.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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