From the Shanghai-based developer, Chesstar Studio, comes Lilith-M, a wonderful little indie puzzler that produces a stern test of patience and precision. This quirky indie title shines an intriguing light on the world of puzzle games, while offering its players a clear sense of satisfaction as they make their way through the levels.
The story immerses you in the world of Lilith, a young girl who embarks without choice on a dangerous quest for safety. With the aid of her newly found robot companion, Lilith goes in search for a way out of the nightmare world she woke up to, and back to the reality she feels she was snatched from.
The game bases itself on the use of dual screens; with Lilith on one and her robot companion on the other – they are effectively on separate levels but still move simultaneously with one another. Chesstar Studio go on to increase the already difficult nature of this simultaneous movement by producing intricate game design that sees Lilith’s level being completely different to that of her robot friend. This means that a few steps forward may be safe with one, but the same movement with the other could result in death and effectively the restarting of the level. This unique feature highlights the obvious importance of having both characters work together as you find yourself trapped within levels where teamwork is nothing short of crucial. Each move is therefore scrutinized as you make sure both characters remain in safety away from the many dangers associated with each potential move.
If that was not enough, once you have adapted to the process of moving together, the actual objective of the level becomes apparent. The main goal is to work your way through the trials and tribulations and retrieve a gold key situated somewhere within both Lilith’s and the robot’s screens; only when the keys have been retrieved is the level complete and you can move onto the next one. The completion of each level goes on to grant the player with a currency of cogs that are built up to unlock the future chapters of the game. This is a feature that gives its players a sense of having earned their right to move on through the game.
For a small indie title, Lilith-M really impresses in regard to its level variation. For instance, the game introduces a changing degree of obstacles and challenges that produces an experience that prevents any noticeable repetition that so often plagues puzzle games. What adds to the impressive nature of the game’s variation is the way in which each obstacle is also cleverly integrated throughout the level, meaning that they all play an important part in trying to prevent you from retrieving the key. The individual care in the placement of obstacles, such as spiked pillars and lasers, ensure that levels are kept fresh. This results in an experience that tests the player in ways that mean new intricate ways of manoeuvring and problem solving are required for each course of action that Lilith and the robot take.
One major criticism with Lilith-M is the way in which it falls way short of maintaining the harsh and testing nature that greets its players in the first few chapters. Throughout your time venturing through the levels, a noticeable rise in difficulty between each chapter means a steady feeling of trepidation begins to grow as the looming unlocking of chapter three becomes closer.
When chapter three arrives however, it produces a clearly underwhelming experience; the genuine easy nature of its levels comes as a real disappointment to a game that up until that point had really tested your patience and the act of perfectly executing a level. The apparent shift in an easy nature therefore ruins that growing sense of anticipation for the latter part of the game, and effectively leaves a genuine aspiration for more.
Ultimately, Lilith-M on the most part is a wonderfully crafted indie puzzle game that produces a challenging, yet rewarding experience for its players. The intriguing level design and the uniqueness of the dual screen feature really show-off the clever thought process behind the game’s design, highlighting the delightful experience that is to be had while playing. The clear underwhelming nature of some of its levels does dampen the lasting impression of the game upon completion, and this setback, unfortunately, comes as a major disappointment to a title that portrays such potential during the first half of playthrough.
Drawbacks come with almost every game, and it would be sad if the ones highlighted in Lilith-M keep you from trying this daring indie puzzler. What should be voiced is the fact that if any future instalments arise then we should all share the same excitement for a chance to jump back into a game that holds true potential in the puzzle genre.