Lydia Review

Some see the world in black and white, while others see only a haze of gray. Meet Lydia, a young girl caught in a dysfunctional family fueled by substance abused. Based on the developers own experiences on the subject matter, Lydia is a short story based about overcoming a monster.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 1 hour

Lydia. Little girl in her dark room saying she can't go downstairs because there are grownups.

Released June 2nd, 2017 by Platonic Partnership Ltd | Nakana.io

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Expressive art
  • Emotional story
Major Cons:
  • Subject matter may be upsetting for some people
Minor Pros:
  • Atmospheric audio
Minor Cons:
  • Short

Chapters follow key points as Lydia ages

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In-depth Review

Lydia is a short story based game about a young girl caught in a dysfunctional family, amidst substance abuse. The girl’s name is Lydia, and the story follows her from a very young child until adulthood focusing on a few key moments in her life and her interactions with others at the time. The game has a very emotional story focused on Lydia’s feelings and experiences. Many of the emotions draw on are fear, helplessness, and anger.

Lydia. Dark room with a man and an angry-looking woman. Dialog options are inquisitive, afraid, and excited.

Dialog options to express how Lydia feels

Due to the subject matter, Lydia may be upsetting for some people, but for those interested in its content, it has a very striking impression. The art of Lydia is very expressive. It uses a lot of grayscales, high contrast, and splashes of vivid color. The game steps back and forth between Lydia’s childhood imagination centered around a monster and her protector, Teddy, and her real-world experiences with members of her household and friends.

Lydia. Little girl standing in an imaginary world of grays with giant toys and a smiling sun.

Exploring an imaginary world with Teddy

The audio of Lydia is also very atmospheric. It lends well to Lydia’s emotions and the tones of the different scenes. It’s a very well composed and emotional story. Lydia has a lot to say about the effect of substance abuse and dysfunctional families on the growth and lives of young children. The story is based on the developers own experiences on the subject matter.

Lydia. Young scared girl hearing someone say through a tent: you know, against your better judgment...

Children overhear many things

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Recommendation

Overall, I found Lydia to be a very melancholy, but enjoyable game. Due to the subject matter, it’s probably not appropriate for all players, and for those who do play it, some may find it to be short. I finished it in about an hour. However, the art, story, and audio make for a very emotional story and atmosphere. I recommend Lydia for players looking for an emotional story that aren’t averse to the dark contents.

What emotional story games have you enjoyed?
Let me know in the comments below!

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