Lydia, Raising Awareness of Child Abuse and Neglect Since 2017

Posted By   MrBirky's Avatar MrBirky   on July 5th, 2020 Report


Availability Steam, Nintendo Switch.

Original release date June 2nd 2017.

Developers Platonic Partnership.

Publisher Nakana.

Genre Visual Novel/Walking Simulator.

Lydia (Nintendo Switch)

Lydia is a brutally honest look into the eyes of a child whose parents expose her to wildly inappropriate behaviour, as well as abuse on a mental level due to their own personal downfalls with substance abuse. This narrative is based heavily not only on the lives of children, who have the unfortunate reality of living in this environment on a global scale, but also on the memories of the key developers at platonic Partnership, they wished to create games that 'motivate change '

You play as Lydia during different stages of her life, as you traverse many settings such as your family home, a creepy forest and your neighbourhood, trying to make sense of what’s happening and escape her own personal hell.

Lydia as a game controls very simply, as it plays kin to a walking simulator such as What Remains of Edith Finche, you can move using the directional buttons and you can interact with items as well as characters, in order to progress and to give limited dialogue options. The dialogue options presents itself on how to react to someone as opposed to the specific words spoken, for example you can choose to react defensively or scared to a piece of dialogue. This presentation makes sense as Lydia is a young girl and doesn’t have a developed vocabulary or in later years may simply be scared to fully articulate what she really wants to say.

Unfortunately the gameplay doesn’t divulge much further then that, which is a shame as there are no more outer layers to peel back and discover in terms of game mechanics. I also feel it might have been a wasted opportunity to further educate people on this often hard to stomach subject matter, in a creative medium that people are more familiar with. This is further harshened by the games running time being so short, lasting between 30 minutes to 1 hour and the dialogue options having no impact on the main story.

Graphically Lydia is beautiful, as a character Lydia comes across as very creative as you get to experience what a young girl makes of her daily horrible predicaments, so as a result the hand drawn art style really highlights the few joys and soul crushing lows that Lydia endures. Furthermore, the music contributes to this atmosphere as it makes use of its ambient soundtrack and orchestral elements to fit the grim mood that is Lydia.

Verdict

Lydia is less of a game and more about promoting an important message of what can happen behind closed doors to a child, when substance abuse is a contributing factor.

Lydia can be purchased at a cheap price with also the option of DLC, which acts as a donation to Fragile Childhood, a Finnish based foundation who works in the field of substance abuse and Mental Health, as well as working closely with treatment providers.

Although I feel this game could have been so much more then it was, you owe it to yourself to purchase Lydia and experience Lydia for its harsh but well executed experience.

Quote of the game ‘Thanks for making monsters less scary’

Fragile Childhood https://lasinenlapsuus.fi/en/about-us

Written by Matthew Birkinshaw


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