CRAWLIES made me think a spider was cute.
I hate spiders, they’re basically the worst. But CRAWLIES has enough love in the world for all of us, so much so that it spreads joy to anyone it meets. As a beautiful mix between Animal Crossing and Earthbound, CRAWLIES is impossible to play without smiling at everything. Even the spiders.
In CRAWLIES, you’re given a blank encyclopedia, a net, and the courage to catch all things buggy. Flick the net at the right time in the right place and you’ll add a new bug to your collection. Bugs fly around the screen, cleverly hide in plain sight, crawl up trees, and more, and you catch every single one of them. You can then read about each one and check out your bug collection as it grows and grows, and generally just watch them all hang out together being cute.
Then you try to figure out where the hell bugs #12 and #23 are, or if they even exist, if you imagined them, or if those are even real human numbers because clearly there is nowhere else those bugs could be hiding. I mean seriously, I’ve checked everywhere.
As simple as CRAWLIES is, there’s more than a little love that’s been invested. From the unique animations of each bug in your collection, to the mouth jingles when you catch one, to the adorably earnest write-ups of each, a lot of care has gone into making this tiny world. I still can’t get either of the game’s theme tunes out of my head, and the collection screen theme reminded me so much of Earthbound that I didn’t even notice the, uhh, “borrowed” font in the encyclopedia. The game’s two biggest influences are games about total sincerity and childhood, tones that CRAWLIES strike perfectly.
It takes less than half an hour to play through, but it’s worth your time if you’re looking for something made by nice people to make you smile. According to the developer, the game could possibly even be expanding beyond the original 24 bugs soon! I mean 22 bugs, because clearly #12 and #23 are fables never to be seen by mankind. WHERE ARE THEY.