Mipumi Games’ The Lion’s Song is definitely a refreshing visual novel game out in the market. It’s one of those indie game darlings that gets good but doesn’t always stick around for a long time.
The Lion’s Song focuses mostly on delivering its point-and-click novel adventure experience with good visuals. Players will find themselves looking at every scene’s details to find something to click at to progress the story. Unlike other visual novels, exploring these scenes feels leisurely more than a chore as they feel animated even when the background barely moves. Bundled with its great art style, its visual and animated approach makes its story novel from the static and stiff point-and-click adventure stories. The game has zero voice acting, which boosts the focus toward the visuals and on-screen text.
Each of the four main protagonists are great characters to follow in each chapter’s one to two-hour length. Players will see them through their external and internal struggles in their professional field, which is a rare topic to tackle in narrative games. The stories can be followed easily even if you aren’t familiar with each character’s profession. Lastly, its final chapter is a focused prologue that talks about each of the main character’s life and wraps up the experience like a good burrito.
Despite its strengths, The Lion’s Song does have a few minor snags that can be easily overlooked. For example, pressing space bar, which is the usual visual novel progression button on PC, can crash the game if pressed before a loading screen starts.
The optional locations in the city are mostly accommodated with dialogue and can’t be explored. Exploration is limited to small, picturesque areas. Never expect much from its limited world map as most of its contents are cosmetic. At best, players can ignore side trips but will mostly likely do so in search of clues for their next major decision.
Its music is great but can be forgettable due to its sparse use. Even in the first chapter, which features classical violin music, the music is rarely heard and player’s can’t decipher how the song will go. Even the titular song isn’t memorable since players already have it dissected and played in little parts during the early parts of Episode 1. Additionally, reading text during the titular song recital somehow ruins the enjoyment of the song.
Lastly, its hook to replay the whole title isn’t that strong as the first playthrough is satisfying enough. Going for the route that assures your character’s success at the beginning can leave you satisfied with whatever actions you did and carry on without looking back. The developers even added a cool feature that you can use to replay specific scenes to your liking. I’ve only tried the feature once and never looked back starting Episode 2 until the last.
The Lion’s Song is actually enjoyable to binge play. It’s one of those titles that you can lose yourself into and get rewarded for closely following the journey.
- Refreshing art style
- Visual and animated approach to a genre that uses still scenes for its settings
- Specific episode parts are easily replayable with just a single button after completing it once
- Great story that can provide insight for professional and creative struggles that people face up until this day
- One specific crash that can be triggered by long time visual novel players
- World Map exploration feels important when it can be skipped
- First playthrough can be good enough to ignore the easy scene replay system
The Lion’s Song has a great narrative and compelling visuals that’ll allow you to be entertained and connect with its characters. It’s short length allows players to finish all four episodes easily, with no moment feeling like a chore to do.
The game is perfect for players who want to have a good story experience but don’t have the leisure of having long hours to get to the good parts. However, the story is simply good, not phenomenal. Nonetheless, the Lion’s Song is commendable as it tells a moving story that’s barely explored in video games.
Final Score: 7.7/10
Note: This game was played on PC with a review code provided by the publisher. The full season of The Lion’s Song is also available on Mac, Linux, Andoird, and iOS.
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