Title: The Lion’s Song
Developer: Mi’pu’mi Games
Publisher: Mi’pu’mi Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 10, 2018
How we got the game: We bought and downloaded it onto our Nintendo Switch
I first heard about The Lion’s Song from a random article that detailed some good indie games that were coming to the Nintendo Switch. The premise and graphic style from the screenshots the article provided intrigued us enough to give it a try.
The Lion’s Song is a point-and-click visual novel-like game. Each episode stars a different person practicing an art form, like composing music or painting. While trying to navigate their problems, you point and click on their surroundings, trying to help guide them in the right direction.
The premise of each story is to help their muse along so they can get their work done. However, you’re also solving their real-life problems in the process as they try to focus on their work and also reality.
While doing this, choices pop up from time to time. The outcome of the situation will depend on how you answer these choices. At the end of each episode, the game tells you whether or not the majority of other players picked the same choice as you, as well as giving you the opportunity to return to the point of the story of the choice to choose the other options if you’re curious as to the other outcomes. Going back and seeing how the other choices work out does not affect the current playthrough, which I thought was a nice touch.
There’s not much else for you to do as the player other than try to make the right choices for your character. As long as you can move the analog stick and press the A button, you’re good to go. The gameplay is simple and you just need to follow the storyline for each character.
I was definitely interested in the art style of this game. It reminded me of a comic or a film noir, grainy with not too many colors. It wasn’t displeasing at all — I’m always up for trying games with unique art styles.
At first glance, the art style can seem “boring” to some people, but it really adds a certain atmosphere to the game. The game can get intense at times and the art style really adds to that feeling.
Along with the art style, the music and sound effects really work with the game in ramping the tension and setting the atmosphere. For example, the first episode starred a young woman named Wilma trying to create a violin composition. She’s writing it in a cabin nestled in the mountains with a thunderstorm brewing overhead. The rain, the wind, the thunder, the scritch-scritch of her pen as she writes the melody… It all works together beautifully to set the tone.
Plus, as she has revelations with writing the composition, her violin will play in the background as though she’s hearing the music as she writes the notes. It’s cleverly done.
In the first episode of The Lion’s Song, we play as Wilma, a young musical prodigy struggling to compose a final piece for a concert. She fights through anxiety, unrequited love, and nightmares while trying to find the inspiration and her voice in a secluded mountain cabin for her piece. Your choices help decide if she can finish her melody on time for the concert.
In Episode 2, you play as Franz, an artist. You aid him as he tries to paint people as real beings showing their true personalities. This one is tougher than the first episode. It’s not as linear and a lot of the choices are tougher.
Episode 3 starred a woman mathematic. Rachel and I both jokingly balked at doing a story about math, but it was probably one of our favorite episodes. Back in the time that the game is set — right on the cusp of World War 1 — it was unheard of for a woman to have a brain “logical” enough to grasp mathematics, let alone create and prove her own theories. Her story was about reaching out and finding help with her theories, but her gender prevented her from connecting with the like-minded male professors of math, causing her to cross-dress in order to join their circle. One of the main mechanics of this episode was flipping back and forth between her female and male personas in the pursuit of knowledge and smashing the sexist barriers found in that time.
Episode 4, the final episode, was short and sweet. It took us about an hour to get through and it was a neat wrap-up to the previous three episodes. You’re stationed in a train car talking to three other men and you get to play as those three briefly as they swap stories, all connecting back to the other three episodes. I don’t want to say too much due to spoilers, but it was very well done.
Considering all the different choices you can click on throughout the episodes to show off different results and endings, The Lion’s Song has some decent replay value. Each episode has secrets about the characters, a story that you unravel with your choices, and it was always interesting to see how the episodes themselves connected with one another.
Once you finish an episode, stats appear showing how many other people chose the same choices you did. You can go back and change your decisions to see what else could happen. It’s a great game with wonderful storytelling.
The Lion’s Song gets…
4 out of 5 lives.