When it comes to reviewing a game like Lydia, there’s always a problem. Similar to games like Fractured Minds and Drowning, judge it on gameplay and it’s not going to be a positive review. Simply put, there’s very little in the way of ‘control’ here. More of an interactive story with minimal interaction.
That means its story has to be excellent. It has to grip you and hold tightly for its short run-time. It has to be a powerful and meaningful experience.
Lydia, for all its lacking in gameplay elements, is all of these things. A commanding tale that has you thinking about its story long after its credits roll.
So strong is its message, that the additional DLC that is a direct donation to the Fragile Children foundation is a must buy. Especially consider the low price point of the game itself.
You take on the role of the child, Lydia. Who is sent to bed after her father tells her a scary story. Her over-active imagination sees her convinced that monsters are real and that they are in her closet. Deciding to confront her fears, she and her beloved teddy bear venture into the world within her closet.
A colourless world fraught with danger and sadness. To say anymore would ruin what is an exceptionally deep story. Lydia has many surprises up its sleeve and by the end, few won’t be engrossed in it.
As we said, the story can’t be faulted and nor can the visuals and music. The intangible imagery, constantly striking and consistently pretty. The ominous atmospheric tones and pretty melodies. They are just as big a part of the experience as the story is.
The only negative in that regard is the voices of the characters. They speak, but in nonsensical mumbles and noises and it can get a little irritating. With the text appearing on screen quickly, the game would have been just as good had they been silent.
It’s a minor complaint but in a game so short and lacking in gameplay elements, it stands out. As does the trial and error conversation trees and lack of impact these conversations have on the overall narrative.
Considering these are the major gameplay components, it’s a shame there weren’t branching choices to be made.
A 60-90 minute experience and 4 chapters long, Lydia may not seems like much bang for your buck. However, it’s one of the most thought-provoking games we’ve played in this genre. Its emotional and heartfelt story will have plenty of impact.