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Your hair might be too short

  • JEStaff
  • 04/22/2017 08:28 PM
Lavender is a puzzle and horror game made by “ClockworkPrince” in RPG Maker 2003, It’s also based in the classical tale “Rapunzel”

The genre of this game is primarily, and almost completely, puzzle, so the puzzles constitute the meat of the “playable” part of the game. The game itself follows the next structure:

- Intro: consisting of a dialogue explaining the backstory of our characters, and then a short scene with the event that makes the trigger to, actually, start the game.

- Game: this part comprises the whole playable part of the game, without dialogues, cutscenes, nor any type of advancing on the story. The gameplay itself are 7 floors with a puzzle on each one, each puzzle is unique and independent from the others, actually, you won’t need backtracking or searching on other floors to solve a puzzle, everything you need to solve one is on the same floor the puzzle is in. The only exception is…

To get the secret ending you’ll need to go back, searching for an item on each floor, and then using them on a place in the last puzzle.

In the way to the secret ending you’ll have to cross two more areas, but they’re completely linear without any difficulty.

As a last thought, the difficulty of the puzzles isn’t related to its placement of the game, they aren’t from easier to hardest, nor the other way, for example for me the hardest were the chess and the cauldron, and the easiest were the scale and the pedestal.

- Endings: those are 2 short cutscenes (the one for the secret ending is a bit longer), showing the outcome of our actions.

As a summary, while the gameplay is well executed, and the diversity and difficulty of the puzzles are well done, the game gets a little repetitive, and the lack of story during the whole gameplay (unless you count the paintings), become a problem for me. Thankfully, the game is short enough to finish before this gets serious.

Graphics & Art
The graphics are simple but they seem to be done with care, and put in a nice way. In short, each floor is color coded, including your room and the last dungeon in the path to the secret ending, Lavender herself also changes her palette when you reach a new floor, including her portrait in the save slots. If you are thinking on “Huntress on the Hollow” you are on the right track

Note: In the extra room found in the menu after finishing the game, the creator explicitly says that “Huntress of the Hollow” inspired them to create this game.

To finish, the game colorful graphics and pretty cutscenes, while not outstanding, are enough for the purpose of the game.

It's a comb, I'm sure you get it

Music & Sound
While the music is not original, for example I recognized the tune for the first two floors from other games, and the melody for both the menu and the good ending is the Gymnopédie from Erik Satie (more precisely, the first piece, the one known as “Lent et Douloureux”). The music is well placed in the game, changing the BGM each several floors (some puzzles are silent though), the outcome is good, and there’s little to improve. Maybe having a piece for each floor? That would be too much work for an almost insignificant improvement on the final result.

The sound effects do their work, neither adding nor subtracting from the game.

Storyline & Characters
The game is based in the “Rapunzel”, and it seems to be fairly faithful to the original tale (at least to one of its versions).

The game starts with the titular character listening to a tale her “mother” tells her (it’s her story, but Lavender ignores it), it’s Lavender’s 12th birthday, and her mom gives her a comb (hey, it’s a reference to Rapunzel’s hair), as a present. Later the present the mother gave to her falls from the window and Lavender, for it seems to be the first time, leaves her room to search for it.

The story take a rest during most of the game, until the endings come, there are hints given by the painting on each floor, but you might not notice it. To get the first ending you just have to complete the main game. The secret end requires some backtracking. The endings provided me very mixed reactions.

In the main ending, the stepmom of Lavender is an accepting and affable mother, who genuinely loves Lavender. In the secret, she is revealed what it seems to be a heartless witch.

Honestly, I’m no too fond of the horror twist of the game, yes, it’s optional, and doesn’t change the story, but I think that wasn’t necessary at all for the game, and it seems to be there just to jump on the “horror games” wagon. Otherwise, the story, while too simple, was satisfying enough.

To finish this review, Lavender is a straightforward small game, which, while clearly not ambitious, is entertaining enough for the short 15-20 minutes it lasts.