C.A.R.L.(Computer Automated Resource Locator), is a retro-styled action-platformer created by Andrew Kenady and co-developed by Matt Bitner of Morningstar Game Studio. C.A.R.L. is a labor of love, inspired by classic PC hits such as Cave Story, Speedy Eggbert, and Jazz Jackrabbit. You play as C.A.R.L., an automaton lost within Kent Industries, a robot factory. Uncover the mysteries of the factory while also helping your engineer friend defeat the villain.
C.A.R.L. takes a lot of gameplay cues from platformers of the past. Traditional gameplay mechanics exist here such as jumping, puzzle solving, and shooting enemies. Most of the game consists of going through levels and trying to find the way out while avoiding obstacles and defeating enemies. The puzzle elements in each level are fairly simple and have you mainly just hitting switches to open up doors. Along with the fairly straightforward gameplay, you can also pick up collectibles that are scattered throughout the game.
Now there are some “RPG” type elements in the game and it mainly has to do with upgrades to C.A.R.L. You can visit the DOC, aka F.A.R.T. and upgrade upgrades for your body. Of course, you can’t do this unless you find blueprints you need for the upgrades. You can also upgrade C.A.R.L.’s arms that give him extra weapon abilities, similar to how Megaman works. There are also ability upgrades you can get in order to reach places in the game you couldn’t otherwise reach normally. All of this is gets unlocked as you progress through the game and collect items as you play.
While the game can be a bit easy (it’s not very hard), it is a solid platformer. The controls are very responsive and there doesn’t seem to be any input lag. Jumping seems accurate enough with the overall gameplay feeling tight. Aside from the gameplay, the storyline is also pretty good. Much of the dialog between characters is pretty humorous and the overall plot of the game is interesting enough to keep you coming back for more.
Overall, I like C.A.R.L. The art style definitely harkens back to the old DOS days of gaming as well as the amazing digital soundtrack. I also really enjoyed the story which was engaging and pretty funny. The gameplay too was solid with excellent controls and accurate platforming. C.A.R.L. is definitely a game that will be fun for the entire family.
Disclaimer: Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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