You play as C. A. R. L., a cute little robot that was created by Kent Industries. C. A. R. L. has agreed to help an engineer that no longer agrees with what the company they work for is doing.
A throwback to the 16-bit era of games, the gameplay pays tribute to platformers that came before it. Each stage that you traverse is a floor of the factory that you’re exploring with the goal being to collect a number of parts for your engineer friend whom you have agreed to assist. Each stage has several obstacles like a number of enemy robots, pits of lava, and switches/doors that prevent you from progressing. Outside of the stages, you have a hub area called the Dump. You can come here to speak with other robots that may feel the same way as you due to being company outcasts. Each robot found here can provide hints, and information that may help you progress, or give you access to upgrading your abilities/skills to help you along the way.
Graphics and Performance:
The game has you feeling like you’re playing an interactive cartoon or comic book with its art style, as everything is presented in a 2D pixel art style that is cute and very fun. There are a lot of environmental set pieces with animated elements that make the environment feel organic and alive. Enemies will visibly get angry when they see you and make an effort to take you down. NPCs will show expressions as you talk with them, depending on your dialogue choices.
Performance-wise, the game plays beautifully. When the game loads, the loading screens are more often than not a set of transitional animations within the game world so it’s not just a static load screen. Load times as a result don’t feel like the game is loading, but the more you play the game the more you are able to recognize when the game loads. The game never slows down, there is never any pop-in due to the game being entirely in 2D with there being no discernable difference between playing the game in handheld mode or while docked.
The music in the game fits the game nicely with it changing between the Dump and each stage of the factory. Music changing as often as it does helps to prevent the game from feeling like it was a lazy project with there just being a copy-and-paste job when it comes to the background music. The sound effects in the game fit the game nicely with the sounds that enemy robots, C. A. R. L., and NPCs make as they interact with the world. Environmental sounds in each stage help to bring it to life and make them feel more realistic despite its visual style.
The game was co-created by Andrew Kenedy also known as Nintendrew. Having a gamer/content creator whose emphasis is Nintendo content, helps to bring a unique perspective to the game. You can tell as you play the game that a lot of work went into ensuring that the game never feels boring or stale.
You can definitely tell where the influences for this game comes from, but it’s a nod to those games and stands triumphantly in a league of its own. With a middle-of-the-road price point, awesome writing, and being a retro-inspired throwback, this game is totally worth picking up on your platform of choice.
Disclaimer: A review key was provided