Review: The Lion’s Song is Charming, Simple, and Cozy If a Little Boring
It's like Telltale brewed some really tasty Chamomile Tea
Developer: Mi'pu'mi Games
Publisher: Mi'pu'mi Games
MSRP: $9.99 (or $3.99 per episode)
The Lion’s Song is a point-and-click adventure from indie studio Mi’pu’mi Games. The focus of the game is unlike the thrilling adventures of other point-and-click adventures from famous studios like Telltale Games. This game is instead centered around classical art and music. The first episode, which is free on Steam, takes place in twentieth-century Austria and follows a young composer, Wilma.
The elegance of the title paints the tone nicely.
The graphics of The Lion’s Song are pleasant, putting everything in an old-timey, Sepia toned look, which fits with the time period it deals with. A low-res look really sells the feel of a simple story.
It may be low-res, but the art style chosen encompass either large scenery or scenes where characters take up much of the screen. With this, character movement is very noticeable and moving. For example, when Wilma sits in a cabin, trying to think of her next composition, sounds outside start to distract her. Instead of seeing text boxes simply saying, “That’s distracting,” we see her hands shake or her letting out a deep breath. It’s certainly an example of “less is more.”
If classical music is particularly interesting to you, or the early 1900s, The Lion’s Song is definitely a dive into the world of that time. There’s even a scene of someone calling Wilma on the phone from another country and they both potentially are fascinated by the technology, a sort of cute scene to those who are now used to having the entire phone infrastructure and internet on their pockets.
The visuals are pleasant, but playing it can be a drag.
The Lion’s Song may make you want to like it for what it’s trying to do, but the actual gameplay isn’t terribly fun. The story is great across all episodes, but the gameplay is quite lacking. To be fair though, there isn’t much excitement happening in the game to grab onto to make a compelling “video game” feel.
The game should really be described as a visual novel than a point-and-click adventure, as Telltale Games has more or less transformed that genre to be 25% action, 75% story. The Lion’s Song is a good story, but it should really be played when one is hankering for a book instead of a game. It’s not a bad thing, but someone looking to play as Batman in a story-based game will likely be disappointed. Likewise, someone who’s a fan of period pieces like Pride and Prejudice may be enamored.
The game is something many can appreciate, while not necessarily seek it out themselves.
It’s an episodic game and follow different artists from different mediums in each episode. The game may be called The Lion’s Song, but that seems more applicable to Wilma’s story in the first chapter. Regardless, the next chapter, and the ones following star different characters following different art forms. The second chapter, for instance, follows Franz Markert, a portrait artist.
The idea of each episode being a slice of life for a different character is certainly an interesting, especially when each character follows a different art form. It’s a storytelling device that should be explored more. But perhaps different stories could be told for those who aren’t interested in 1800’s period pieces.
Overall, The Lion’s Song is an example of a decent game with a very specific audience. If Mi’pu’mi Games plans to make more visual novel-type games, it would be interesting to see where they go next. Hopefully some place more exciting. But the storytelling methods employed in The Lion’s Song is something other story-based game developers could learn from.