One of our app users' most anticipated games, an Unreal Engine 3-powered adventure game dubbed, simply, Lili [$2.99], is now out and available. High-profile games like this one usually see early international releases before they hit worldwide, but with the changes coming to the App Store and its support of the latest iPod touch and iPhone, it hit well and wisely before the usual Wednesday night / Thursday rush.

One of the things we've been struggling with since seeing Lili the first time is pinning down what exactly it is. Is it an adventure game? What's up with its non-combat fighting system? Also, just how many RPG systems and genre tropes will this thing roll in?

After spending an hour or so with Lili, it's still hard to pin it down. It's a weird mix of RPG and adventure game elements, with an emphasis on the latter.

In the game, you play as a girl named Lili who lands on a mysterious island. You'll be tasked with picking flowers across this island in a grand attempt to impress a teacher with your ability to discover and capture exotic flora.

The catch is that picking flowers is not exactly easy. This island is inhabited by new, exciting breeds of flowers, yes, but also spirits and golems. Spirits, it turns out, are what you'll need to target in order to scoop up the best and brightest flowers.

Spirits are big, organic monstrosities who apparently want their flowers. So, they bolt if you walk up on them. Your goal, then, is to catch these spirits first, mount them and then pick the flowers from their oftentimes bulbous backs.

On a functional level, Lili is a 3D, open-ish world adventure game. With swipes and taps you steer Lili around the world. A double tap, for example, sends Lili into a run, which is how you'll be able to catch up with the majority of spirits in the early game.

We say "open-ish" because of the nature of the design. Lili is broken down cleanly into sections, each one a "town" of sorts with roving NPCs, stores, and treasure chests. The first two towns have you running through them capturing spirits, and then returning to a trainer to pick up a quest reward. There are also NPCs that have specific wants, and you can earn items that'll help you if you're able to deliver what they need.

The simple structure of the world informs the nature of quests and exploration. There's not a lot to see and do, outside of talking to an NPC, getting a notification, and then maybe finding a treasure chest with the item they you need to fetch. The combat, on the hand, is kinda interesting: to pick a flower, you need to pull it from the root with a sharp swipe. When you're on the back of a spirit and the camera is shaking, this can be a rough task. Adding to this, spirits also grow thorny flowers you'll need to avoid and, for whatever reason, can grow bombs that you'll need to tap frantically to get rid of.

Items and stats can help you with the mechanical task of catching spirits. Grasping, running, and sneaking are all upgradable skills, and you can equip stuff that'll provide bonuses to each of these. It'll be interesting to see if actual capture of spirits ramps up in the later game, if it becomes something more cerebral than just "run at the spirit and hope you can keep the camera properly behind your back as you do it."

Lili is an interesting game, for sure. Its technical, art, and sound production are off the walls good and well executed. And while its mechanical parts are technically without flaw, we're hoping that the game, mechanically, ramps up. In the early going, Lili feels like a game without a pulse. All the systems -- the RPG stuff, the exploration, the combat-less combat, and the world building -- are there, but not utilized to the extent that they could be. It's a little flat.

We'll give you more on this in the future in a full review. We've got some footage of the game in action, too, if you're into moving pictures.

  • Schpank

    Lame

  • JesusBro

    meh...

  • sakara214ever

    How is iap?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Hopper/1238691947 Paul Hopper

    This game isn't tailored for the hardcore gamer, casual is the name of the game and its even the app store description, this line sums up the game nicely "Difficulty option specifically for kids".

    • Firetruck94

      But not for your nine year old, it contains "mild/infrequent simulated gambling :)

  • Tatiana

    Don't mean to show my gender here, but Lili's shorts are really unflattering! 

    • Tropxe

      I dunno, I spent most of the video enjoying her legs and shorts. I came away thinking they might be the highlight of the game.

  • Madison Gerritsen

    I wish they'd include a d-pad. Walking is a nuisance.

  • Game Gent

    So the whole object of the game is to pick flowers off the backs of spirits so you can impress a trainer bot?

    Urghh......

  • changeofskin

    Ugh. What a let down. Shame cus the graphics look insane.

  • awyiss

    The graphics ARE insane, the characters are really original and well done, the dialogue is smart and funny, and its genuinely fun to play. Every other review of the game so far has been great, and I'm pretty sure Apple wouldn't have wasted its time featuring something 'lame'. I'm enjoying it a lot. Play it yourself before you let a lukewarm review change your mind.

  • http://iqsoup.com/ iqSoup

    Does anyone enjoy walking?  Maybe its just me but walking ruins so many games for me.  Maybe I could get into WOW if it weren't for the 30 minutes of sitting while holding W to get to deliver your plot token to the next NPC.

    • DecafTable

      Auto Run in World of Warcraft...I used it almost all the time and enjoyed the first few years of it :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134582760 Nicole Hunter

      I am fine with running.  Games with rail are what annoy me.  You're an odd one.  No offense I just find that an odd thing to hate as a gamer.  

    • http://iqsoup.com/ iqSoup

      I don't mind walking if its part of some sort of fun game play.  But walking just for the sake of walking is boring.  It involves pressing a "forward" button.  Hard stuff.  Does it challenge you to press forward?  Nope.  In of itself is it fun to press forward? Nope.  If you like pressing a forward button you can do that without even turning the system on.  Just sit in front of a wall pressing forward and you'll have a blast.  No offense to the WOW lovers out there (obviously I'm not one of them) but is is the fun part of WOW watching your guy auto-run across a pretend world?  Its not like your really accomplishing something--the megabytes are still in the same spot in your computer.

      Now in say Call of Duty or Super Mario walking isn't primary to travel from one imaginary spot to another, it serves a purpose in the game play--that I don't mind at all.  But if a game is going to make me walk just to waste my time and needlessly draw out the playing experience then no thanks.  I don't think I'm an odd one by any means.  I think the vast majority of gamers are like me--its why Final Fantasy always gives you an airship and why in Pokemon you can teach Pidgeotto how to fly.  I don't even like stupid Pidgeotto but I wouldn't go anywhere without him!  No way am I going to bike all the way from Pallet town to Fuchia City--watching the pixel art scenery go by doesn't exactly enthrall me.  Just my opinion though.

  • Himmat Singh

    Any idea how come the games are releasing early this week? Has the Appstore releasing mechanism changed? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Hopper/1238691947 Paul Hopper

      probably something to do with ios6 same day as well as iphone5 tommorrow

  • Mekklesack

    I'd love an Infinity Blade that's "off" the rails, especially since games like this are popping up at the AppStore. I need to stretch when I play and I'd love to hunt for loot hidden in corners, like chicken in walls, and stuff.

  • Tropxe

    Is it just the video or does this game have a bad framerate when outside? Anyway, it looks very nice but I can imagine the gameplay getting old fast. I have an iTunes gift code which I might use for this but seeing it in action has kind of put me off.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Hopper/1238691947 Paul Hopper

      on the ipad3 very very very seldom ill see a framerate twitch. smooth sailing otherwise.

  • GSJ1977

    Good video guys. I don't think I'll be picking up this one...

  • http://twitter.com/eslam_sabri ابو عصام

    Can the iPod touch 4g run it ?!!!!!
    they say in the description that it cant but they say its  Compatible with it !!!!!!!!

  • GiHubb

    I don't understand who this game is for either. I don't see my wife, who's not a gamer, playing this. Maybe it's for younger girls. It's a shame as the production values are through the roof. Also gotta love those Lara Croft shorts!

  • Kablermo

    what? ipod touch 4g not supported?

    *ultimate rage explosion*

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO DAMMIT!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Midgetcorrupter Rick Payne

    Personally I applaud a developer for doing something different, and am far more likely to buy a game that does. I've played games for 25 years now and worked in the industry for 8. 
    Im pretty bored of the same action adventure game or FPS being done again. Or the copycat nature of the app story. I'm sure we all need more endless runners!

    I do wonder that if the people that dont like the flower motif would feel differently if the character was sticking swords in the back of a creature? it would be the same mechanic.

  • Himmat Singh

    Just played this and the thing that catches my attention is the control scheme. Brilliantly done. Auto walk/run and you control the steering. Horn should implement this scheme ASAP. I doubt I will play Horn again after playing this. The tap-to-go in Horn seems so outdated.

    Haven't played much yet, but yeah, graphics are stellar. Needs no telling - you can see that for yourself.

    PS: Is anyone having sound issues? I can't hear the dialogues play out.

  • witedahlia

    I personally like flower games. I like fighting games, too. I can't really explain why this game is so repellent to me, but it is. I haven't played it and I don't want to. I'm not trying to be rude or insulting to fans of the game, but since flower-picking vs beast stabbing was brought up, I felt compelled to give my opinion. I'll play almost anything, any genre, whatever. I confess I had to quit Monster Hunter after just a few days, I felt too guilty slaughtering dinosaurs for no reason. But that's me being a wuss; it wasn't the game's fault. So Monster Hunter, to me, is a fairly good games that I can't personally play. Lili, on the other hand, is just so ... yuck. The art is nice and I applaud the developers for doing something different, but I will not be getting this game.

  • DecafTable

    Great looking game, but too dumbed down with no real and meaningful objectives which means the entire experience is a waste of my time.