Lili Review (iOS)
The way I see it, there are three things driving ‘proper’ graphics on iOS: Real Racing, Galaxy on Fire and Unreal powered games. Lili is the latter, though unlike most others, it’s not possessed of a gritty realism but rather the kind of charm and character usually reserved for Pixar movies.
The story goes that Lili has come to the island from a Magis college to collect botanical samples for her thesis. The game is guilty of a common failing of iOS titles, i.e. only one save slot. Happily enough, when contacted, the developers stated they’ll be adding multiple save slots soon; it was a casualty of meeting the iPhone 5 release date.
What’s interesting about the premise are the island’s denizens; wooden constructs are a sort of slave class whose makers and masters are forest spirits. “They were masks and are pretty much jerks,” seems to be the general consensus. Since they grow flowers out of their heads, it’s a twofer for Lili: Get flowers and take the spirits down a peg.
This means most of the game involves wandering around plucking flowers and opening treasure chests as you go, the latter taking the opportunity to doff the cap to the likes of Mario and Zelda. Fights go something like this: Spot bad guy, chase it, jump on its back, pluck its flowers, win. The difficulty? They grow thorns too. Plucking those hurts! Some spirits can sprout bombs as well which you have to get rid of quickly or be thrown off and disparaged by the spirit.
There’s a rudimentary sort of leveling as well. Which is to say grip, speed and stealth can be improved. Add to this the flower-to-key exchange rate and you’ve got a fair amount to be getting on with. Note the exact turn of phrase though; “a fair amount”. It’s fair that you get such a beautiful and relaxing experience for only a few pounds without enough depth for long-term appeal.
There are some pretty poor in-app purchases in the game too, in the form of costumes that amount to little more than palette swaps. What made the developer think these were worth real money? It just seems like a trap for less tech savvy parents, i.e. Those that don’t know they can turn off in-app purchases in Settings.
The net result is a game that falls squarely in the ‘good’ zone. No more, no less.
7 rudely plucked flowers out of 10