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C.A.R.L. Review: A Nostalgic Homage to Classic Platformers

Updated: May 9, 2023

Drawing inspiration from iconic PC games, C.A.R.L. offers a unique fusion of old-school platformer action, whimsical RPG elements, and an engaging storyline that centers around a plucky robotic protagonist.

Take on the role of the Computer-Automated Resource Locator, or C.A.R.L for short, a courageous little automaton lost in the vast Kent Industries facility. Traverse each treacherous factory level to retrieve Tech Units for your engineer ally outside, gaining access to new areas and abilities in the process. Make friends with quirky, defective robots in the D.U.M.P. (Depot of Unusable Machinery and Parts), gather items, and defeat formidable enemies to unveil the dark secrets lurking within the facility!

Overflowing with witty humor and featuring catchy "Electro-Chiptune" tunes, C.A.R.L. really hits hard on those nostalgia vibes!

C.A.R.L. is a delightful platformer that skillfully harkens back to the glory days of retro DOS gaming goodness with a modern twist. Like Super Meatboy meets Samus Aran at a comedy club. With its intricate level designs and challenging obstacles to tackle, the game captivates players with its labyrinthine environments and myriad secrets waiting to be uncovered. The challenge is well-balanced, ensuring a satisfying gaming experience without frustrating the player too much.

C.A.R.L. sign
C.A.R.L Comedy hits a homerun for this reviewer

The game is designed to encourage replayability, as players will want to revisit levels multiple times to discover all the hidden treasures for 100% completion.

In addition to the immersive levels, C.A.R.L. offers an engaging hub world that houses various points of interest, such as upgrade stations, a jukebox, and more. As players progress, they will gain new abilities that allow them to access previously unreachable areas of the hub and unlock new worlds. These newfound abilities also facilitate further exploration of earlier levels, leading to the discovery of even more hidden secrets. It has some light Metroidvania aspects throughout.

While C.A.R.L. is an entertaining and well-crafted game, it isn't without its flaws. One particular level proves to be more frustrating than enjoyable, and the bosses lack the excitement and challenge that players might expect. Additionally, the game's humor might not be to everyone's taste, as it can come across as a bit forced at times. Not for me, but could totally see how it's not the style of humor for everyone. Also, for those not interested in seeking out all the hidden secrets, the game may feel somewhat short.

Nintendrew photo
Good guy Nintendrew: Creator of C.A.R.L.

C.A.R.L. is the brainchild of acclaimed YouTuber Andrew Kenady, popularly known as Nintendrew. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing this incredibly entertaining, knowledgeable, and kind-hearted creator. Nintendrew graciously provided a free copy of the game for review purposes, which in no way influenced the impartiality of my assessment. Although C.A.R.L. is a genuinely enjoyable game, players seeking a more profound gaming experience may find themselves wading in the shallower waters of the platformer genre. Nonetheless, the game serves as a testament to Nintendrew's creative prowess and passion for delivering engaging content to his fans and in my humble opinion, is worth the romp.

Despite any minor shortcomings, C.A.R.L. stands out as a lively and engaging platformer with intricate level designs and a distinct personality. Fans of the genre will undoubtedly find this game to be a worthy addition to their library.

C.A.R.L is available on Steam/PC/Nintendo Switch/PS5/Xbox for an MSRP of $14.99. If you're looking for a fun, challenging, and witty adventure right now, it's worth the price of admission.

Smash Score: 8.5/10

C.A.R.L. Review

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1 Comment

P Ferreira
P Ferreira
May 08, 2023

Shareware of first episode available? 😂

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