The game was tested on the PC
The Danube, as always, is full-bodied. The Emperor Franz Joseph is still alive, and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand can be seen at receptions and world famous balls. On the streets of Vienna you can meet Freud, Wittgenstein, Klimt, Schoenberg … The heyday of Austria-Hungary, its peak and at the same time sunset with a loud final point – several shots in Sarajevo and then, like an echo, millions and millions Europe. But for now – in the universities there is an idea, modern art is being sharpened in the art workshops, and new trends in music are being forged in the conservatories. Not only in conservatories and workshops, but everywhere – The Lion’s Song, together with its characters, seeks the nature of creativity.
For the first time the name “The Lion’s Song” was sounded at the festival of game development Ludum Dare in 2014 – it was there that debuted the tiny sketch of the Austrian studio Mi’pu’mi Games with pixel, but charming graphics, sepia-twisted. Two years later, it also, but expanded and modified, was released on Steam as the first episode of the future series – just as quietly and without unnecessary pomp; A classic indie project with a zero marketing budget. Nevertheless Silence (this name was given to the first series) was distributed (and distributed now) for free – including, due to this, the game attracted noticeable attention and even acquired translators. Amateur studio Tolma4 Team, which usually on a voluntary basis takes on the translation of already released games, voluntarily blended into the project near the end – first the Russian versions of the first three episodes were released, and the latter was already equipped with a woven Russian text at the time of the release.
Nevertheless, despite the localization, the output of the last episode (already, of course, paid, like the two previous ones) was almost not noticed – and this could be one of the main gaming injustices this year.
War is a note. Ringing, invading every life, no matter how you caute your ears.
Everything is intertwined. Vienna at the beginning of the century numbered more than two million inhabitants – the capital of the empire that you want – and yet was a tight city; as a minimum, intertwined various fates. At the beginning of each episode, we see different train stations – and a train heading to Vienna, which sucks in unfamiliar passengers. An elegant and strong clue will be at the end – but a non-linear plot leads to it, we are told three different stories about the heroes, connected with each other indirectly. Sometimes they can collide on the street, at a reception or in a cafe, but each has its own story and its own key topic. However, in the main menu of the game there is a gallery of links where you can move between episodes and see the strings that connect them together.
The first episode is devoted to music and the process of transforming the environment and some accidents into creation. Silence shows that it was developed long before the creation of the overall picture, despite the uniform style and subject matter (with the obligatory self-discovery and openness of creativity). First, he is divorced from Vienna, one of the heroines of the whole game – the action takes place outside the city. Secondly, the story is served in a slightly ragged pace – the production itself suffers noticeably, it is necessary to “twist” a lot in your head. The following episodes in this plan look much more slender. And thirdly, all the mechanics of the game focus, in addition to dialogue and flipping through the thoughts of the heroine (Wilma Delft, violinist and composer), on “pixelhanting” – in the future developers will find original metaphors for the creative process.
Nevertheless, all the main virtues of The Lion’s Song already in Silence come out clearly: the love of their heroes, the emphasis is not on straight-line plot twists (they are few here), but on emotions and feelings. And a rare sense of peace for the games, emotional comfort – empathy for what is happening is not achieved through shocks, but through close attention to human nature.
And of course, sound design. Characters are not announced, for this the developers did not have resources, even background sounds are very few. For all this music is distracted. In addition to the main theme, which is called “Lion’s Song”, there are melodies associated with each of the key characters, and with different places of action. From good indie projects, you do not expect anything else – here and with music everything is fine.
The war is a canvas on which world history is written in large strokes, and small – a sea of private tragedies.
Mi’pu’mi Games is not trying to hide its educational ambitions – the Austrian team on the move begins to literally bomb on names, and some historical figures manifest themselves in the course of the plot. For example, we will visit the reception at Sigmund Freud or pick up a book in the library from Ludwig Wittgenstein. In some places, this causes a slight smile – yes, we understand that you have something to be proud of, but if someone in the process is pushing to at least leaf through the “Wikipedia”, and even try to dive into the “Logico-philosophical treatise” – everything was not in vain.
The second episode, Anthology, in this regard, just reaches the top. He already begins at home with Gustav Klimt, which is logical in his own way, because his hero is a young artist, Franz Markert, who has the gift to see what is not available to others, but he has problems with self-identification.
If in the first episode we created a composition through the environment, nature, its sounds and even an occasional mistake with a telephone call, then here comes the first plunge into the human ego. And someone else’s – we have to write pictures through small interviews resembling sessions of psychoanalysis. And its – here already I will not reveal the plot turns.
In Anthology appears the map of Vienna, on which you can walk a little, calling to some of the sights – but we are given only a few key points. Unfortunately, in The Lion’s Song, the scarce resources possessed by developers are clearly visible. There are very few places of action, for the most part we have to move through all the episodes. They are written with love, but even to somehow diversify the “population” of all the same market, cafe or Klimt salon, Mi’pu’mi Games did not have enough hands. But you can “listen” to the fact that the same people think different characters. This, in principle, fits in the normal course of things: after all The Lion’s Song is a game dedicated primarily to points of view.
The graphic style of the game is very peculiar. Yes, the ball is ruled by large pixels, but while Mi’pu’mi Games it turns out to find its own style, with retrochachirovaniem shabby fotokartochki beginning of the last century. To carefully study the movements of characters can not be counted, but actively used text animation and fonts, due to which it is possible to grasp the emotions of the characters.
War is a vector. Irreversible changes that can not be reversed.
The era of Viennese Art Nouveau was associated with the flourishing of not just one sphere – music, painting or literature, say, no, something seemed to be spilled in the air and influenced, among other things, architecture, philosophy, and exact sciences.
The third episode, Derivation, is devoted to mathematics and, unexpectedly, to feminism: his heroine Emma Reznichek, in search of development for her ideas, tries to get help from experienced scientists, but she is not allowed into their circle. A mathematician, are you serious? We have to wriggle out to become the next Sofya Kovalevskaya.
Here history first touches not only the humanities and at the same time local Austrian moments, but slightly touches politics and were brewing in the late 20th century storms – to complete their narrative in the fourth episode.
The whole process of The Lion’s Song is built on a traditional scheme of visual novels, which, for example, Telltale Games or Dontnod Entertainment resorts to, – we advance through a series of elections both in actions and in dialogues and see in the end the consequences, including and in the plate, where it is noted how many players made this or that choice. Moreover, the game is so friendly that it allows you to replay individual moments with the election – but not the key ones. To change something cardinally, you need to replay the whole episode. At the same time, there are no inscriptions in the process like “This will have consequences” or “The character will remember this.” Everything is intuitive – and, in my opinion, it’s beautiful.
After the first episode the game acquires harmony: the interesting staging moves bloom; the text “The Lion’s Canticle” may not be compared, for example, with Night in the Woods but it looks all the same very confident; the general line is maintained clearly – and at the end we see a sharp, albeit bitter, point instead of a blob or an exaggerated exclamation point.
The world war as a black hole attracts everything around it – The Lion’s Song eventually turns out to be a game about it, and one of the best. This is not a war where there are trenches, rifles, grotesque tanks and horses in gas masks, but about the one that descends on each of the people who want to love, create, change the world – and instead, forced to survive. For many, it will be a gap, which all life will have to fill. For many – a point.
The decline of the empire was also the decline of the Viennese Art Nouveau, but it was so bright that spolochs are visible after a century. The Lion’s Song once again reminds us of a bygone era. It’s a small, modest game that speaks very quietly, but on very important topics – and it does it so subtly, delicately and gracefully that she wants to put herself in the gallery next to the works of the best modernists of the time.
- an elegant story written with great attention to man;
- rare subjects;
- original style.
- poverty of fulfillment;
- in places hurried installation.
|Drawing||Modest in terms of resources, effects and even resolution, The Lion’s Song takes on its very distinctive style. But it works on almost any modern (and not very) computer, as well as on mobile devices.||7|
|The sound||There are almost no sounds in the game, except music. Yes, and it’s not that much – but it’s a miracle as good. Maybe not Schoenberg with Mahler, but a fine example of neoclassicism.||8|
|The Single Player||A classic visual novel of the “Western type”, which does not put any tasks in front of the player, but regularly makes choices. However, and this is here – not the main thing, but just a way to tell a story and better feel the characters.||8|
|The collective game||Not available.||–|
|The general impression||The Lion’s Song is more than the parts that make up it. Modest in performance, but very thin on the subject and content of the game.||9|
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