“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” –Friedrich Nietzsche
Developer: Platonic Partnership Ltd
Initial Release Date: June 2017
Price: £3.99 (PC)
Platforms: PC, Mac, Android and iOS coming soon
Available on: Steam
Lydia is a short, point-and-click adventure that addresses some dark themes from a child’s perspective. You play as the protagonist at various stages of her adolescence, observing the long-term effects of the monster for which she searches. It is a story-driven, emotional experience about a little girl in a world of adults.
The game utilises a mix of somewhat impressionist and cartoon art styles, dulled tones and grayscales with contrasting colours used well to effectively maintain the childlike POV whilst not undermining the serious nature of the subject matter – neglect, alcoholism and substance abuse. The stark themes are made more poignant when you realise that the game is based on the personal experiences of two of the developers at Platonic Games, a fact they share freely on their website.
Overall, the dialogue was well written, however, at times I found it to be bit stiff. There is no discernable speech in the game but unlike in other titles where this is done well (e.g. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), it lacks finesse; the random intonation and repetitive nature means that it sometimes detracts from the experience rather than adding to it. That being said, there is some lovely (and fitting) music and the sound effects are used to create an eerily beautifully dark atmosphere.
The game has been available for PC and Mac since 2017 and in 2018 Alko (a Finnish alcohol retailer) published a mobile version of Lydia in Finland actively trying to help reduce alcohol-related abuse and harm. Platonic Partnership’s website also states that a mobile version of Lydia will be released globally during autumn 2019, however, there is no specific release date or indication of the price at this stage.
Lydia is short; I completed it in just under 2 hours, it is pretty linear and has little to no replayability. Nevertheless, if you’re after a short, melancholy experience this will meet those caveats and I’d happily recommend the game. The exploration of adult problems from a child’s perspective provides a different take on an increasingly popular genre, adding interest and accentuating the heavy themes of the game.
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