What is The Girl and the Robot?
A puzzling fairytale adventure, The Girl and the Robot is a game which sees players help the titular girl and robot duo escape from the clutches of an evil witch and her sky prison-cum-castle. By working together, and making good use of their unique skills, you'll make your way through the many puzzles and enemy encounters the game throws at you, as you slowly make your way towards freedom. However, do bear in mind that this is technically 'Act I' of the story, so it does end with a bit of a cliffhanger.
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How do you play The Girl and the Robot?
In The Girl and the Robot, you get to alternate between the two main title characters, switching between them with the triangle button to solve the game's puzzles. Both the girl and the robot have their own unique abilities, which come in handy for overcoming the game's many obstacles - for example, while the girl may be lacking in brute strength, she more than makes up for it by being small and nimble, able to jump to higher spots, or squeeze through tight gaps. The robot, meanwhile, is the muscle of the group, armed with a sword, shield and bow and arrow with which to dispatch the various bad guy robots that accost you throughout. His bow and arrow also doubles as an excellent way to hit switches from a distance, too, while his superior strength means he's also perfect for pushing blocks around.
As you move from place to place and puzzle to puzzle, you'll need to chop and change between the two characters as you work your way towards the solution - perhaps using the girl to slip through a small hole and pull a switch to open a gate for her robotic companion, or using the robot's ability to see invisible walkways to direct the girl over a bottomless ravine. Along with solving the puzzles, you'll also need to protect the girl from those who want to carry her off to the witch, so it's often best to send the robot into new areas first, to make sure its safe for the little one to enter.
How easy is The Girl and the Robot to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, The Girl and the Robot combines some challenging puzzles with a few tricky sections that require some split-second timing, making this a game aimed at experienced players.
While much of The Girl and the Robot is about puzzle-solving, as in the examples mentioned above, there's nothing in the way of a hint system here, meaning players are on their own. Infrequent checkpoints also add to the difficulty, as you'll need to replay that little bit more should you die.
One part of the game stands out as being a heck of a lot trickier than the rest - a boss fight against the wicked witch and her robot pal, about halfway through the game. For this, your robotic companion stays on the ground floor with the witch's evil robot minion, while the girl runs around on an upstairs balcony, trying to lure the witch in front of a cannon and blast her with a cannon ball. The main issue here is that the witch moves so fast - and the cannon fires so slowly - that it's rather tricky to manage to time it right and hit her once, let alone the requisite three times to complete said boss fight, especially as she can hit you from quite a way away. This is a boss fight that'll take plenty of retries until you manage to get it right.
With nothing in the way of dialogue, either voice acted or written, there's very little in the way of reading in The Girl and the Robot, with the story being told entirely through unvoiced cutscenes. That said, there are some short tutorial messages you'll need to understand, which are delivered through text only.
- "Hold the square button while moving forward to run."
- "Press the triangle button to change control of your character."
- "Watch the energy orb on your back. If red, part of the armor will break when getting hit."
With no bad language, no sexual content, and no gore whatsoever, The Girl and the Robot is a fairly tame experience. Players can engage robotic enemies in combat, hitting them with swords and arrows, accompanied by metallic impact sounds, with enemies exploding in a shower of metallic pieces before fading away when defeated. Chunks of armour chip off both the protagonist and the enemy robots when they take damage, while the robot can also perform a stealth attack on unknowing enemies, running them through with his sword for an instant kill - although again, being robotic, there's no blood or gore to accompany this. A couple of scenes do see you facing off against the more humanoid witch, either striking her with your sword or shooting her with a cannonball, but she merely staggers rather than bleeds when hit.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4