The Lion’s Song, Episode 1: Silence introduces us to a young woman named Wilma who is struggling to complete a musical composition. Just like many people, Wilma is being pulled between conflicting goals and desires. What does she really want? Does she want success or to go home... does she long for love? These are all questions that are left to the player to decide. In some ways Wilma is a bit of a blank slate for the player to fill in the blanks. Wilma takes a simple trip to an isolated cabin in the mountains, hoping that there in the silence her music will come to her. The game is deceptively simple, it is not very long, and there are not very many characters. However, the game is not simple, just like Wilma’s trip to the mountains is not a simple trip. Alone in a cabin with just the silence, Wilma will have to face herself and fight her own inner demons before she can write her song. Along the way, a chance encounter has the potential to have a profound effect on Wilma and her music. This chance encounter also has the potential of changing another person’s life as well. The game did an excellent job of helping me form an attachment to Wilma in a short amount of time, the episode was meant to only open a small window into her life, but I would have enjoyed spending more time with her.
The Lion’s Song affected me in ways I did not expect. I expected to play a game that lead me on a journey and allowed me some choices. What I got was a game that set a character before me and told me to do with her what I wished. And I have no complaints; it is refreshing for a game to hand over the control to the player with very few constraints. The game does an excellent job of atmosphere and of helping the player understand what Wilma is feeling and experiencing. When Wilma is sitting alone in the cabin and there is nothing but silence, the player feels that overwhelming silence as well. When she is disturbed by a storm or hears an incessant noise that disturbs her concentration, the player also is subjected to the same sounds. I could feel Wilma’s despair when she didn’t know what to write, I heard the same beautiful strains of music that inspired her to write some more. And I also had a hand in helping her hear that music, if I hadn’t interacted with certain things then she might not have heard the music. Although I apparently made the right choices and allowed her to finish her work, it was also implied that I could have potentially given her another ending altogether.
Although only episode one is available to play, there is a sneak peek of chapter two at the end. It seems that the theme of struggling young artists attempting to find themselves is a common theme that will continue into the next episode. I will be interested to see what occurs in the next episode. I can’t wait to see who the next character will be and what struggles they will have to overcome. I may even return to Wilma’s story and see what other paths I could lead her down instead. I am really curious if Wilma will make a reappearance in the following chapters and if the other characters from future chapters will somehow end up in each others' lives. Perhaps they will all end up at an artist’s commune, how fascinating that would be? If you like to guide a character and make choices that will alter their life, then The Lion’s Song will completely appeal to you.