Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Lili ($2.99, Universal) is an adventure game where a young botanist finds out that collecting the rare and exotic flowers she is looking for may also free an island plagued by mean spirits. Built on top of the Unreal 3D Engine, the graphics of this game are only part of what makes this game fascinating. The rich character personalities and the way that the game uses random interactions to tell the story are sure to keep you engaged.
Controlling the female botanist Lili is accomplished with a single touch control. Tap once anywhere on the screen and you’ll walk in the direction you are facing. Tap twice and you’ll run in that same direction. When in motion, a single tap when will stop Lili dead in her tracks. You look around the same way you control which direction Lili will go, by dragging your finger around the screen. Moving your finger on the screen in the direction that you are interested in exploring while tapping to move is an easy and natural gesture to master. While you can look up, this will not make Lili jump or fly, her feet remain firmly on the ground like any well planted botanist’s feet would.
When Lili first arrives at Geos, an island she thought was uninhabited, she meets and becomes friendly with its local inhabitants know as Constructs. The Constructs are made of wood and live to serve the island’s other inhabitants, the Spirits. One such Construct, the Trainer, informs Lili that most of the rarest flowers on the island grow on the backs of these Spirits. And these Spirits are mean. As one would think, surrendering these rare and precious flowers is not something that the Spirits are going to do willingly. After Lili gets the hang of how to battle the Spirits and take their flowers, she continues to consult with the Trainer who ends up being her guide throughout the game.
The game employs a quite clever, not aggressive, battle system where Lili must position herself on the backs of the Spirits in order to pick the flowers. The more advanced Spirit in the game will kick, throw bombs and grow thorns on their back in an effort to keep Lili from picking their flowers. To harvest the flowers, you tap and pull on their buds until they snap off of their stem. Tap and miss a flower will cause Lili to lose her grip and fall off of the Spirit. The more flowers you take from each Spirit in each battle, the better your score will be. If you do not like your performance, you have the chance to rematch the Spirit in an effort to earn a higher score, pick more flowers, and earn more gold coins.
As you explore the island, there are treasure chests, hidden flowers and mysterious rooms hidden behind locked doors that you can explore. Interacting with the inhabitants of the island exposes several mini challenges that you can complete as well as the main storyline of the adventure you learn from the Trainer. There is a shop keeper, a mail courier, a gambler and even a key maker that each have their own way of helping Lili out. Even the town’s bell ringer helps Lili find her way to a restricted and hard-to-reach forest within the corridors of the inner city.
The flowers Lili collects can be sold to the shopkeeper for gold coins, which are used as in-game currency. Lili can use these gold coins to purchase items like food and potions that help her gain strength and fight the Spirits. There are also items that Lili can purchase that will increase her ability to grip, run fast and stay hidden. These three skills are also enhanced through powering up Lili’s character traits following each mission. You can modify the game’s difficulty to make things easier or harder for Lili, and if things are not progressing fast enough for you, you can opt to bankroll Lili’s expedition through in-app purchases.
With a clever female heroine, large 3D environments to explore from a third-person perspective, and a serious search and find element where you uncover the secrets of a strange and mysterious land, the game has a definite Lara Croft Tomb Raider feel to it. Each character you encounter has its own unique personality that keeps the game interesting. So if you are looking for an immersive 3D game with more of a passive-than-aggressive adventure feel to it instead of a shoot-them-all-before-they-shoot-you strategy, then Lili is just what you are looking for this weekend.