Lion Quest Infinity (2021)
Developer: Dracula's Cave
Disclaimer: I received this game for free from the developer.
I'm taking a short break from deep diving into Skyward Sword HD to highlight a game from just earlier this year, to keep things relevant. Lion Quest Infinity was sent to me a while back on Steam, near the time the game launched, but I had been playing it on and off for periods of time and hadn't gotten around to beating it. This game is a little hard to explain, due to it's unique take on both storylines and platforming, but I hope I can explain it in this review and with added video clips. Lion Quest Infinity is a platformer, both 2D and 3D, combined with a top-down life simulator. Lion Quest Infinity does some experimental stuff in its gameplay that I believe mostly pays off, although the story could have been a little more polished and cohesive to make the two worlds feel more connected.
Lion Quest Infinity is set up a constant switch between two worlds - one being the "real" world, where you play as a young man named Jeffrey who goes to his office job every day. The second being the world you enter at night, in your dreams, and you play as a lion named Jethro. When you start the game in the evening and go to sleep as Jeffrey for the first time, you are suddenly transported to a tutorial section where Jefferson, a fox, explains the controls. Meanwhile, in the "real world", Jeffrey wakes up in the morning, picks an outfit, goes to work, comes home, and goes to bed. Occasionally, he gets a phone call from his eccentric sister Sigourney who's studying to be a psychologist. His everyday monotony is not only a little sad, but just realistic to what some of us face with the 8-5 job life. However, a new hire named Magnolia joins the office, and Jeffrey become quick friends. They talk about their lives, their coworkers, and other silly banter to make the day pass. It quickly becomes clear that everyone at this company besides Jeffrey and Magnolia don't actually do anything - gone from the office days time and being completely unaware of how their company website works. It's incredibly relatable to anyone who's ever had completely incompetent bosses or work with older people who have no idea how technology works. At night, you take on your first platform puzzle as Jethro. You encounter an "older" version of Jefferson and he tells you not to steal the grandfather clock in front of you - but the "current" Jefferson had told you do it so you steal it anyway.
Lion Quest Infinity's art style is a little hard to describe. Since its characters are at times 3D and at times 2D, I can say it looks both like pixel art and like voxel art. The platforming worlds are made up of shapes, mostly cubes, floating through space. It's simplicity works well enough except for the fact that sometimes you can't tell if a cube is a button you're supposed to press or an object that kills you. With just a little polish, the levels could have had more clear indicators and less of repetitive shapes. Then there's the "real world" top-down view, which is a similar voxel style. Despite the fact that there's not a ton of different tracks, the music is pretty dang good. A lot of levels have the same track which starts to get repetitive, but closer to the end, you get some hype and fun electronic music. I'm actually considering picking up the soundtrack on Steam as I'm not sure if I can listen to it anywhere else.
Among other smaller games, the developer had previously released a game named Lion Quest. Although this game looks similar to Lion Quest Infinity, I believe you don't have to play it as a prequel to this game. The developer is just one person, so I'm impressed how they put so many levels and dialogue into this 8-hour game. Lion Quest Infinity is definitely a strange take on platformers but it does a good job of adding power-ups and new obstacles that make the game challenging. You can also switch between characters in the dream world, switching between various different animals in order to work together and finish the puzzles. The gameplay as Jeffrey the human is extremely simple, but something like picking an outfit for work every day makes you feel like you're really this guy who has to go to his same boring job all day and slowly develops a good friendship with Magnolia.
Lion Quest Infinity is a fun twist on platforming, and I would recommend it to fans of puzzle-y platforming. I wouldn't recommend it for the story. Despite the fact that I liked getting to know Jeffrey and Magnolia's relationship and I felt invested in it, a lot moments are fairly repetitive and it's hard to understand how it's all tied to the Jethro-Jefferson timeline mess beyond just references to a stolen grandfather clock. If there were a sequel, I'd like to see more in terms of a cohesive story and updated character art.
Lion Quest Infinity is available on PC
Played on: PC
Last Played: 7/13/2021
Playtime: 8 hrs