The Cambridge Geek

Assemble with Care

One I picked up on a whim based on the graphics and the hope of a bit of puzzling, Assemble with Care was originally an Apple Arcade game, that got a more general release on Steam.

It follows Maria, a repairwoman, who has escaped her parents' grip for a little while, hoping to see some more of the world and starting in Bellariva, where she encounters a range of residents with a few problems of their own. This includes a child missing her mother, a father unsure how to bring fun back to his family, and a cafe owner who is struggling to keep her cafe open as well as dealing with the sudden appearance of her sister.

Well voiced, but brief.

There's a (very) gentle story told throughout the game about these people and Maria's interactions with them, in which is interlaced the puzzles. The 13 chapters always start with a few paragraphs of text, leading into a discussion of something broken, that needs mending.

Those 13 puzzles involve disassembling, fixing and then reassembling a number of items, including a watch, slide projector, and telephone, as well as doing a bit of cooking for a brief change. These were the majority of my interest, which is why it's a shame they are so limited. The opening and closing puzzles, in particular, which only involve unpacking or packing a suitcase are especially disappointing. There's no grand final moment of rebuilding something truly difficult, using all of the skills you've developed.

I wish it were this easy in real life.

Some of the movements are satisfying, particularly any time you get to unscrew and re-screw screws, but the puzzles are not complex by any stretch of the imagination, and do not require significant deduction to solve. The nature of objects only fitting in one place mean that even if you get stuck for a moment, it's a trivial task to try the next thing and quickly move on.

I think it's the problem with this being a mobile port. You'd have been happy fiddling with it on a bus as a distraction, but as a standalone, sit down at PC game, it definitely feels lacking. The appeal is obviously meant to be in doing something you would struggle with in real life (see House Flipper for something with a similar idea), but there isn't that much pleasure in this.

Though this one is a satisfying motion.

There's the story, of course, but this is brief and not wildly impactful. It makes a fair attempt to have something interesting to say about relationships, but it doesn't get the time needed to really make you care about the characters.

All in all, if you've got it via Apple Arcade, it's a reasonable way to spend an hours. As a PC game, it's underwhelming.

Score 3

Tagged: Game Puzzle 3D Easy difficulty PC