By Brandon Howard 18.03.2017 1
The Lion's Song is an adventure game series taking place in early 20th Century Austria, with four unique stories told across four different characters, all tied into an overarching narrative about creativity and human relationships. It's a point-and click adventure series, but it's a little less open-ended than that genre usually implies, opting for a more direct approach to its narrative. Reserved and beautiful, there's a lot of charm hidden beneath the surface of this solemn tale. Cubed3 kicks off the series with a look at Episode 1 - Silence.
The first episode of The Lion's Song follows Wilma, a talented composer struggling to finish her latest work. At the behest of her mentor, a man she maintains a complicated relationship with, she retreats to the mountains of Vienna for one week to finish her composition for an upcoming performance.
Wilma's story unfolds throughout the course of a storm in the mountains, as she struggles to avoid the distractions and sounds that prevent her from finishing her composition. Each drop of rain, each creak in a dusty old cabin, puts her further and further away from the deadline, as she struggles to find a way to block out the noises.
Guiding Wilma to the source of the noise is usually all it takes to get it to stop, and that's when the real work begins. As she struggles to find inspiration for her piece, she's able to take it from what surrounds her. Books on musical theory, her teacher's half-finished work, her own violin music, all help her contribute to her piece. In game, each source of inspiration is represented by a charming little melody, each part of the greater piece.
There are a few choices that can also impact the piece, such as choosing to stay up late to work on just a few more notes, or how to react to a dream sequence, but it's very straightforward, overall. Wilma's story really unfolds through phone calls with a stranger several thousand miles away, and they are the real key to unlocking more of Wilma's inner workings. The ways she responds to their questions will shape much of her character throughout the first episode and how the titular Lion's Song is created.
There's not a lot of variation in the ways Wilma can write her piece, aside from the order the events happen in. There are some minor variations in choices that can be made, but they aren't always the most impactful feeling options. The biggest draw in this first episode, Silence, is the musical stylings and characters; the sounds convey the sense of a lonely cabin in the mountains, and the musical inspirations really help impart the sense of creating a musical piece.
'Refreshing' is a good way to describe the overall experience of the first episode. It doesn't feel like it overstays its welcome and the character moments and overall feel of the music really leave a lasting impression. It's short, but sweet, and thought-provoking in all the right ways.
The Lion's Song: Episode 1 - Silence is poignant and beautiful, although extremely short and linear. The growing friendship between two strangers separated by hundreds of miles in the early age of the phone is compelling, and the musical elements offer a unique flavour to the narrative. While quite short and not especially mechanically deep, it's still an emotional experience well worth the time it takes.