Disclaimer: Lynn, the Girl Drawn on Puzzles was provided to us free for the purposes of review.
Welp, it’s happened folks. I flew too close to the sun. I decided to review a puzzle game – Lynn, the Girl Drawn on Puzzles, a cute, bright and colourful game – and guess what happened?
The puzzles were too hard.
Okay, that’s not entirely fair. Lynn, the Girl Drawn on Puzzles was developed and published by DoToRis, and they’ve done a sterling job crafting over 100 fiendish slider puzzles for players to tease their brains with.
While I’ve been having a wonderful time so far, slapping my forehead dramatically in realisation every five minutes or so, I’m nowhere close to finishing.
Don’t Be Fooled
The puzzles start out simple enough. As you progress, they become increasingly complex, introducing new elements like adorable eyeball goblins that will devour Lynn whole if you let them get close enough.
Maybe these cartoonish little horrors are the perfect metaphor for the game. Despite its cute characters and fairy tale atmosphere, Lynn is devious.
As I’ve already been forced to admit, for all my staggering intellect, I’ve yet to crack the game. But so far the increasing difficulty seems well-paced. Each chapter or level is divided into nine stages, with a new obstacle being introduced each chapter.
If all this talk of difficulty is putting you off, rest assured the game is also forgiving. Solving a puzzle in as few moves as possible grants you more points, but there is no move or time limit.
Each puzzle comes with one optional hint, should you need a nudge in the right direction. If you make a mistake, you can undo your last couple moves. And above all, if you get really stuck, you can reset the puzzle completely.
Doing this also resets your move counter, so there’s no penalty for doing so. It’s impossible to ever properly fail.
In case 9 chapters worth of puzzles isn’t enough for you, there are two extra modes to play through. If you find that you’re enjoying the gameplay mechanics, but the later levels are well and truly too daunting, one of the two side modes has no move counter.
It also features simpler, more straightforward puzzles to solve. So whatever your skill level, you’re likely to find something here to enjoy.
A Sinister Fairy Tale
As I’ve already mentioned, the story basically feels like a myth or fable. A young girl, Lynn, travels in search of the mythological Guardian of the Mountains, the Nine-Tailed Fox. She hopes that the fox’s power might save her little brother from the plague.
Instead, all Lynn finds is the fox’s diary, and she instantly becomes trapped within its pages. As Lynn solves the puzzles necessary to make her way through the diary, she and the player are treated to excerpts of the Nine-Tailed Fox’s own tale; one of loneliness, prejudice and longing.
Slowly, these two stories of a dying brother and a doomed love start to intertwine. A lighter side story also offers a different perspective, along with a host of new puzzles.
Much like the startling trickiness of the puzzles, the story has an undercurrent of darkness that raises the stakes. The performances also certainly help heighten the drama. Major narrative beats are narrated in Korean, and the voice acting is to a professional standard.
An Artistic Feast
It doesn’t hurt that Lynn, the Girl Drawn on Puzzles is a real treat for the eyes. The game has two major art styles.
During gameplay and minor story beats, sweet little figures – sometimes dangling from a piece of string like paper puppets – amble across an aged canvas. It’s background decorated at the edges with stylish black brush paintings of fishermen in a boat for example.
When the player reaches an important plot point, these little puppet figures give way to sweeping, full-coloured paintings that are gorgeous to look at. Unlocking these paintings in the gallery is a major motivator for solving puzzles.
The music is likewise brilliant, although the tense strings that play during puzzles can get a touch repetitive. Which brings us to…
The Goblins In The Details
Lynn, the Girl Drawn on Puzzles, is a very solidly-made game, so my complaints are minuscule. They mostly relate to the teensy quality of life details. First of all, is that pesky move counter.
The game was made by a Korean studio, and very much follows an East Asian aesthetic, so it makes sense for the counter to default to Hangul. And let’s be clear, it is not DoToRis’ fault that I’m not bilingual.
Still, it would be nice to have the option to change the counter into English, to make it easier to see how I’m doing on a puzzle.
And while we’re at it, it’s frustrating to have to go all the way back to the main menu to adjust settings such as the volume or window display.
There really isn’t much else to say about Lynn, the Girl Drawn on Puzzles. It’s good. The puzzles are cunningly constructed, but the game ramps up the difficulty at a gentle pace. The story is simple but haunting and the whole thing is wonderful to look at. At £5.79 it’s a steal. Pick it up today. I promise you won’t regret it.