There’s a certain childhood wonder and curiosity that at some point we all loose, as we gain knowledge of the world and realize that our magical fantasies we once imagined possible were just that; figments of our imaginations that will never actually come into existence. Nevertheless through books, movies, games and other art forms we can still visit the enchanting worlds of our dreams, carrying ourselves away for a few hours to a place that can only be described as extraordinary.
Lily Looking Through is a lovely, imaginative journey that captures that childish awe and spirit of discovery exceptionally well; placing it under an adventure game guise and a gorgeous presentation which carries you on your way sidestepping the many pitfalls games of the genre often fall into. With very little in the way of story Lily is a game that is largely about spectacle over plot, but personally I didn’t think it needed anything more than what was here. The simple opening of your brother being taken away by a magic scarf sets off the adventure, and I was more than happy to continue on it without anymore development up until the very end.
This is the point that I was disappointed with where the developer took the game. Instead of ending with the heartfelt reunion I think many will expect from the start, you are left with something that feels entirely misplaced among the rest of the game which makes no sense and left me feeling a bit empty inside, almost as if the developers themselves had no clue what it was intended to mean. I’m perfectly fine with having to decipher an ending for myself, but when it comes so out of left field as it does here, I have to wonder if it was intended for any reason than to confuse the player.
While I disliked the conclusion, the joy I had traversing the rest of the game certainly made up for it. Lily is about as simple an expression of the point and click adventure game formula, but it works wonderfully in this instance. Instead of collecting items, talking to characters, or solving obtuse puzzles, in Lily you simply progress and explore the world. Puzzles come in the form of interacting with objects, pulling levers, and using Lily’s goggles to see the world in a new light, all of which formed logical and satisfying solutions which were enjoyable to solve but didn’t exasperate me by being too challenging. While I wouldn’t call it easy per say, this isn’t a game that should give many people trouble, which I feel is admirable in a genre that is so full of alienating game design. If you are looking to flex your cortex intellect this may not be the best way to do so, but as a mellow and relaxing experience Lily succeeds beyond doubt.
Easily Lily’s biggest asset is its artwork. Each vibrant scene is full of lush colors and beautiful detail, mixing pseudo-3D character models with hand-drawn 2D backgrounds. Seeing the environments come to life is a sight to behold, and the top-notch animation flows with impeccable grace and fluidity. If the interaction was removed this could easily pass as an animated movie, something I don’t say likely and intend as a great compliment taking into account the great strides animation has made in the last few years.
My only “complaint” if I have one, is that everything moves at a very slow pace. Doing anything traps you in an animation that you then must watch to completion before being able to interact with anything again. This isn’t a huge deal for the most part, but when you are at times required to repeat the same task several times in a row it can become a bit frustrating that there is no way to speed up or skip through an animation. I got used to it after playing for a bit, but it wouldn’t have hurt if the world moved just a little bit faster.
Clocking in at about 2 hours, Lily Looking Through is a decidedly brief experience but one worth having. I loved every second of being in Lily’s world, from the amazing art to the delightful puzzles, right up to the regrettably unsatisfying end. While its simple nature may put off some, it was a pleasantly mellow surprise for me and one I would wholeheartedly recommend for anyone looking for a pleasant game to relax with.
Lilly Looking Through was developed by Geeta Games and is available on PC and Mac via Steam.