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Short, sweet and sentimental

This is my first time doing a review, so I hope it's not just word-salad!

This is a story that's very personal for the creator, and it definitely shows. There's a lot of heart put into the game, and I teared up at both of the emotionally-charged scenes. The game’s description says it aims to be "queer positive," and I think it excels at that. Many people have expressed distaste in media with LBGT characters that frequently suffer or have unhappy endings. The positive attitudes of the characters in this game was a breath of fresh air from that.

Story:
A Maned Lioness is a very quick game that can be finished in one sitting. It was written very well as a short story - everything was presented thoroughly in the beginning, and everything was wrapped up neatly at the end. Little bits of worldbuilding are scattered through interacting with objects and characters. Not outright explaining everything in the lore of the gods, different species, monsters, and the magic system worked really well. It didn’t bog you down in exposition, and it leaves you intrigued and wanting to learn more. (Sequel perhaps???) The pacing of the story was great too, with a natural-feeling buildup, climax and conclusion.

Characters:
Raziya is an appealing character in both her adorable sprite and her tough and loving attitude. Even so, I feel like her personality wasn’t fleshed out. Part of that is to be expected considering the game is so short, yet there were instances where I couldn't quite pin down her personality. We know she's kind hearted but has the potential to be brash. Her kindness is shown in her interactions with most of the townsfolk, and her brashness is shown in her reactions to the pastor and town elder. Both those traits worked hand in hand with
Alan’s scene.
Yet she acts a bit timid around the shopkeep, Aisha. Sometimes she keeps her thoughts to herself, other times she’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind. I wish her character traits were more cohesive, because I do really like her as a character (if not for my bias of lions being one of my favorite animals).
All the other characters are pretty good. Zander sticks out for me as the most memorable villager because of his immense empathy, especially for a young child. The whimsically-medieval dialogue between characters was a joy to read, full of words both silly and eloquent. There are some instances of typos and incorrect grammar, but at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter.
Alan is another notable character, and perhaps my favorite.
The scene after his and Raziya’s battle is very heartfelt. While it could be seen as “sappy” or “cheesy” because of how emotionally raw it was, the scene works brilliantly as the climax of the game by portraying the theme of feeling socially ostracized and serving as a catalyst for Raziya’s coming out. And, well, I teared up at it. Bittersweet, LGBT tears.


Gameplay:
The focus of the game is not in the battle system. Part of that shows, because they’re your run of the mill RPG Maker kinda battles. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. First of all, there were no random encounters, so battles didn’t feel like a chore. And secondly, you got nice rewards from most of the battles! …I mean, there’s only like four fights in the whole game, but it still felt nice to be rewarded. I liked that you could choose not to fight then and there, too, so you could prepare yourself. However, I thought it was kind of a slog to go back and forth to the town to buy items or heal, but since the game is so short that wasn’t a dealbreaker.
I enjoyed how many things were interact-able. Hearing character’s monologues is always a favorite part of RPGs for me. Raziya has good writing, but as I stated in the character section I feel like her character wasn’t cohesive.

Music and Art:
Overall, the music by Bitter Sweet Entertainment is very well composed. I wish at least one more song was chosen though, because the score of only three or four songs felt lacking. I wish there was a really big sad song not used in any other part during the Alan scene. Regardless, the music was solid!
The sprites by The Mighty Palm are simple, cute and appealing. I love ‘em.

I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a nice LGBT/specifically trans-focussed story. If you’re looking for a short, story-oriented game, I recommend this too. It’s full of heart and wonderfully touching. I’m certainly looking forward to any more of AtiyaTheSeeker’s works!!

Posts

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AtiyaTheSeeker
In all fairness, bird shrapnel isn't as deadly as wood shrapnel
3316
Oh, my goodness! I felt your first review here was well-written, and I'm honored that you chose this game for that review. I'm overjoyed that the emotional scenes worked well, and that the pacing was well-handled too. I'm pleased that the post-battle scene between Alan and Raziya managed to convey what I hoped, even for being a bit over the top.

For the shortcomings, I understand Raz's personality not being cohesive in retrospect, given her interactions with Aisha, and her flip-flopping between being a cinnamon bun and a snark. And yeah, I have been told about the grammar issues here and there, heheh.

Overall, thank you kindly for the review. I'd love to create another adventure starring the crazy cat when I can. Reading this review made me smile like a dork the whole way through. Cheers~
author=AtiyaTheSeeker
Oh, my goodness! I felt your first review here was well-written, and I'm honored that you chose this game for that review. I'm overjoyed that the emotional scenes worked well, and that the pacing was well-handled too. I'm pleased that the post-battle scene between Alan and Raziya managed to convey what I hoped, even for being a bit over the top.

For the shortcomings, I understand Raz's personality not being cohesive in retrospect, given her interactions with Aisha, and her flip-flopping between being a cinnamon bun and a snark. And yeah, I have been told about the grammar issues here and there, heheh.

Overall, thank you kindly for the review. I'd love to create another adventure starring the crazy cat when I can. Reading this review made me smile like a dork the whole way through. Cheers~


Omg no problem, I'm actually honored you responded and liked the review!! :D
I'd love to see any future endeavors with Raz! Cheers to you too~
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