Game: The Lion’s Song
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer/Publisher: Mi’pu’mi Game
Price: $ 9.99 in the US (not available in the other regions yet)
Release Date: July 10 on Switch e-shop
(The game is available on PC / Mac / Linux / iOS and Android)
Overall Feeling: I like it!
(Review Code generously provided by Mi’pu’mi)
Narrative Adventure in sepia colors
Games don’t necessarily have to be all about action, fast moves and frantic button mashing. In the past years we have seen a big diversity of game-genres. The Lion’s Song is put in the genre of narrative adventure and I think it’s a good way to describe it. Not a visual novel, although there is a lot to read. Not exactly a point and click game, even though you have to click on certain objects to progress.
Instead, it’s a story being told by pointing it in the right direction. And when you have to choose between various answers, it determines where the story goes next. In a way, I was reminded of Sorcery!, another game where you determine the story-line yourself. And like in Sorcery!, The Lion’s Song uses a minimal amount of action on the screen to get the tale out there. And it does so in a limited palet of colors too.
Travel back to 20th century Austria
The game is set in Vienna, in 20th century Austia. There are four episodes that each can be played on it’s own, though you will find if you have played them all that there is a connection.
Every character you follow in the episodes had an exceptional creative mind but they struggle for creativity, inspiration and the sometimes difficulty of human connections. The first episode is about Wilma, a young composer, who struggles for inspiration because she has an upcoming concert that could make or break her career.
Franz is a young painter that has the gift to see layers of personality of the subjects he paints. But he has many self-doubts and fears to be able to really see himself. Emma wants to join the renowned club of mathematicians to solve an algebra problem, but isn’t allowed because she is a woman. In the last episode you embark on a mysterious train ride, one that connects all stories.
Life is all about choices
The episodes progress based on the choices you make. And the game does a nice job of showing you after you have played an entire episode, what choices other people made. It’s easy too to go back to one of your choices and see what happens if you did it differently. Don’t expect any earth shattering changes though, it’s all very subtle.
I’d say that this is key in The Lion’s Song: subtlety. The color palet is an indication that this game is no big, in your face, heart pumping adventure. It is designed to make you feel for the character, experience their struggle, and even think: what would I do in a situation like that.
Relationships are at the heart of it all. And even with the minimalistic approach, the developer certainly hits the right note.
As with most games, a game has to suit the way you want to play video games. This is a game for people who like to read, for people who want subtlety and who want to be surprised by human interaction.
The Lion’s Song is a beautiful music piece too, which weaves the episodes together. I couldn’t resist putting it in here too.
As far as I’m concerned, the game could have been a bit longer. The conclusion however, where you are encouraged to find the connections is a nice touch. Overall, I would say that this game certainly isn’t for everyone. But if it is indeed your cup of tea, you’ll like it like I did.