The Lion’s Song is a critically acclaimed point-and-click title where players take on the role of some of Austria’s most renowned artists and innovators coming out of the 20th Century during the height of World War I. In our time, we explored their hardships, the effects the war had on them and the world around them.
+Decisions can heavily impact the story players experience
+Extremely well-done story mechanics that truly drive the experience home
+A subtle, but the well-scored soundtrack deserves a release of its own
-The lack of a cursor on the Switch version does take away from some of the experience
Since the launch of Mi’pu’mi Games’ point-and-click adventure The Lion’s song launched on PC in 2016 – I’ve been on the fence about trying their episodic story, one that tells the story of Vienna, a city forever marred by the devastation of World War I. But alas, here I am, caught up in the lives of four unique chapters, each telling the story of its own unique cast of characters and how their lives intertwine with one another.
Ironically, what started off as the possibility of a story set within the 20th century, I was expecting stories made up, using the era as its background for its narrative, but what I was given was something quite a bit deeper. Our game tells the unique story of famed artists, musicians, writers, and mathematician’s ranging from Wilma Doerfl, Franz Market and Emma Recniczek. What’s most unique is how Mi’pu’mi Games brings this story to life, carefully interweaving each story element into one beautiful piece of tapestry when said and done.
But the game isn’t as weak as it may sound nor does it show any signs of staggering weakness by any means. While the first chapter does open up in a remote cabin, offering a sense of isolation and claustrophobia, the second opens up quite a bit more, opening the windows, allowing the sunlight to shine on in while presenting you with a map, a map of the city of Vienna and its landmarks that you can explore.
As you proceed through each of the chapters, more areas open up, allowing you to see a new perspective to the city itself, the social aspects of it all, as well as renowned areas such as the St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Austrian Alps. All of which play important roles within the Lion’s Song itself.
However, while these locations are important, what’s more important is learning about each of the characters themselves. For instance, Franz constantly struggles to break through as an artist, striving to overcome his inability to take the next step toward becoming an astounding artist. All the while Wilma suffers from writer’s block and claustrophobia, while on the other hand, Emma struggles with her social status, wanting to overcome it, and ultimately pursue her love for mathematics.
But what’s more astonishing is all of this is brought to life by the use of pixel art, not highly detailed character models or 3D animations, but rather 2D pixel art, which sees the world about them come to life in its use of a sepia tone. It pops, bringing out an unimaginable story brought to life through point-and-click mechanics. It’s a game that takes us back to an age where storytelling was put forth and gameplay mechanics were supplemented with easy-to-use gameplay mechanics.
However, this game does require a quite a bit of reading and memory regarding the choices you make. Each of them does have an outcome, each of them does influence the game, and each of them does offer minor changes to how you’ll see the world about the characters. This unique approach is what sets The Lion’s Song apart from its competitor titles. Toss in a rather soft soundtrack, one that hits the strides and tones needed to keep fans drawn in, and you have something that’s inspired, giving depth to each of the characters’ hardships they must overcome.
Even as an interactive title, The Lion’s Song is almost entirely a cinematic experience, one where players are just given a seat for the ride, making small decisions (yet they serve a major purpose), and will influence the overall story. As each character begins to flourish as a creator, a believer, and an artist, you will see this happen through minor changes in the world in order to show when a character begins to hit their stride. All you need to really enjoy the game? A good pair of headphones, a quiet room, and a comfortable place to recline as you play.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.