The Lion’s Song is a different kind of point and click title. Less a graphic adventure, it’s more a visual novel with a narrative focus. Thus, it succeeds or fails by the tales it presents across four episodes. The overall package is above average, but a handful of choices prevent its creativity from shining full force.

Set in early 20th century Austria, The Lion’s Song employs a sepia tone look to portray its settings. Not an ill-fitting choice by any means, but one that ultimately does hold the visuals back a bit, as the colorless presentation becomes more noticeable the longer you play. Which is a slight shame because The Lion’s Song is a stylish game for sure, with great pixel art that excels in detail. I partly blame the colored wallpaper on the game’s website for spoiling me into imagining what might have been. I feel the music is held back some as well, simply because the soundtrack is used in too conservatively a fashion. Intermittent use of tracks has been done well in several other games, but in this case I feel the music is too good for the frequency it’s used. I should also add that there’s no voice acting. So the end result is still an aesthetically accomplished package, just one that could’ve been even better.

The Lion's SongPerhaps I’m more nitpicky on the audio/visual end than I need to be? But as this game’s protagonists are all dealing with expressing themselves creatively in areas such as art and music, my mind was more zeroed in on these. Again, everything fits, and I do like some of the clever touches that are employed. One example is the silhouette effect used in episode 2. As the lead Franz is a painter noted for seeing people in layers, these outlines pop up on characters as he walks by them. It’s a fun trick, and I might note that this episode is one of the stronger ones.The Lion's SongBeing that The Lion’s Song is so story-driven, I’m hesitant to reveal much for fear of spoilers. These episodes are short too, which only increases the odds that I might ruin a surprise. I will say that, while you can play them in any order, structurally it’s best to start with the first one. It’s also my favorite episode for a few reasons. The musical theme appeals to me – its central character is a gifted violin player, Wilma, who is working on a concert finale. I also grew to appreciate how it took me out of the Vienna bustle and into the Alps.The Lion's SongThe only subpar episode is the third. The in-game story juggles an identity crisis spin, and ironically this translates into the writing in unsatisfactory ways. In short, lead Emma must disguise as a man so her mathematical theories can get the attention and consideration they deserve. But the game deviates by making it seem like her choice is eventually not just driven by professional concerns. Without getting into too much detail, it tries to take a serendipitous decision the character herself describes as an ‘uncomfortable masquerade’ and turn it into something more. Perhaps if the episode wasn’t so short this could’ve been developed, but it comes off feeling like an artificial dilemma instead, forced and muddled. It’s not believable in the way the character is presented, and it actually takes you out of the game’s time period. Swing and a miss.The Lion's SongOne area where The Lion’s Song does succeed where many other point and click games struggle is replayability. Upon completion of each episode, it’ll show you key choices made, and let you replay from each if desired. It actually shows you a percentage of how many other players picked each choice, so if you want to replay just to be different, you can. Expect some minor changes at a minimum, though.The Lion's SongPeculiarly, this Nintendo Switch port does not take advantage of the system’s touch screen. While the regular controls do work fine, The Lion’s Song is a point and click game. It seems so weird to not incorporate this standard feature that the system is capable of, and I didn’t want to overlook mentioning this.The Lion's SongThe Lion’s Song is an interesting title. More often than not I enjoyed it, but it’s a short experience. I saw the end credits roll after just a few hours. In fairness, I’ve replayed a couple of episodes, but I can’t help but feel this game is too short for the type of storytelling the developers are going for. Even though the teen rating is appropriate, there are several mature themes here that would benefit by more time in the cooker as it were. With a more balanced narrative, liberal audio/visual embracing, and options for control, The Lion’s Song could’ve been great. Instead, it’s just decent, but it has left me intrigued to see what Mi’pu’mi Games brings to the Switch next.