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For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Girl power

Product: Lili | Developer: BitMonster Games | Publisher: BitMonster Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Lili iPad, thumbnail 1
It's no longer front page news when an iOS game has amazing graphics. Console-quality visuals are fairly ordinary now, and the Unreal Engine has made it easier than ever to do detailed models, atmospheric lighting, and all sorts of shaders and visual tricks.

But that won't stop us yapping about Lili's looks from the off. They're a different kind of beautiful, with colourful, bouncy, Pixar-like graphics that help conjure up a magical world that begs you to explore it.

That world is the island of Geos, and the explorer is Lili - a tweenage Lara Croft with enormous hipster specs. She lands on the island to pick flowers and further her botany degree, but quickly ends up entangled in a political uprising between the isle's spirits and the sentient robot servants they've built.

Look around you

The actual gameplay of Lili is hard to pin down. Much of the game sees you milling about the island, doing things that would be simple side-quests and extracurricular endeavours in a more substantial game like Zelda or Skyrim.

So you'll chat to the island's residents, pluck flowers, play mini-games, wander about in random houses, and amass a collection of trinkets and knick-knacks. It's all a bit inconsequential.

There is a central storyline, of course, and each chapter sees you taking down an arbitrary number of spirits who are wandering about the game's four areas. You'll do this by chasing them down and then leaping on their backs.

This kickstarts an action sequence where flowers, thorns, and bombs will randomly sprout from the spirit's back. You're latched on, like a decidedly less ambitious take on Shadow of the Colossus, and you've got to pluck the plants - while avoiding the nasty stuff - before your grip slips.

It's a rather fun mini-game - it's tactile and touch-friendly, like Fruit Ninja in 3D, and makes a nice change from the usual swords and spells combat of fantasy games. It can be very finicky, though, and not quite varied or nuanced enough to stop it feeling like a chore towards the end of the adventure.

My summer vacation

The island of Geos is stunningly beautiful. It's got big bouncy trees and constantly perfect weather and a rustic charm. The residents are utterly delightful, too - a particular favourite is a talking mailbox who literally vomits letters into Lili's lap.

This all makes Geos a joy to explore. But there's no hiding the fact that Lili is a rather slight and flimsy game. It feels like a beautiful world that's waiting for exciting things to happen in it. You'll enjoy your visit, but you probably won't want to stay for long.

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 20 September 2012
Lili is a gorgeous game with lots of personality and bundles of charm. But as a game it's rather insubstantial and struggles to hold your attention for long
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Jul 2012
Post count:
Contest Chris | 14:44 - 24 September 2012
Just played Lili. I disagree with your score of 7. It easily deserves a Gold (9/10)!!

@klouud, yea Lili blows Horn away. Horn is full of glitches, while in Lili I never seen any. Also, I finished Lili under 6 hours, so it isn't that long. The pace is quick, so you won't get bored like Horn. And did I mention the controls? Totally awesome controls...only wish Horn was like that.
Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 13:06 - 21 September 2012
Bought the game yesterday - I must say that it is superior to anything I have played with UnrealEngine that is sandbox's (blows Horn away). The game also runs silky smooth on my 4S (jailbroken).

Exploration is fun and the "combat system" is different and entertaining. Its a nice break from the norm. I really think that this game is more of a landmark in that it sets the bar on how UnrealEngine games should look and run.

Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 16:09 - 20 September 2012
Agree'd on Horn. I'm almost all the way done with the game and am only finishing it because it picks up @ 70% - and I'd like to see the ending.

I think the Chair games are the most fun to play. Squids was fun as well... Gameloft stuff is great as well... well.... the shooters are good.
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 13:57 - 20 September 2012
Yeah Horn is fun at first, but part way through I realized how tedious it is with really mediocre gameplay. Horn is the biggest waste of money I've spent in the AppStore in a long time, largely dissapointing game.

I saw the Toucharcade 15 minute playthrough Lili and it made me want to sleep. Beautiful graphics though, but it looked so boring to play through.
Jul 2012
Post count:
Contest Chris | 12:02 - 20 September 2012
So far, I haven't seen a game marry brilliant graphics with beautifully crafted gameplay, one way or the other. The closest I have seen is Horn, but even then it falls short in terms of gameplay.