Looking Through is a beautiful little game. The worst thing you can say
about it is that it is too short. Also the puzzles may be easier than
some gamers would like and it is not a game for those who are looking
for complex stories and character development.
game starts after a brief introduction that shows how Lilly and her
little brother are separated. Little brother's name is Row. Your first
task as Lilly is to retrieve the magical goggles which Row has dropped
and use them to find Row. And that's pretty much it for the story. You
are plomped down in a fantastic animated world with no explanation of
where you are. Each game area has puzzles that must be solved before
Lilly can progress to the next area in her search for Row.
than Lilly and Row, there aren't many characters in the game. There is a
frog, an owl, a squirrel, a bat, and a brief glimpse of Lilly's
grandfather towards the end. There is no character development, very
little speech, and no conversations -- just Lilly solving puzzles in
order to make her way through the fairy-tale-like world and reunite with
is a surprisingly durable little girl who has no trouble holding her
breath underwater or swimming in ice water. She's also quite strong, can
climb trees and ropes, and even push boulders that are larger than she
is. Lilly has no fear of heights, which is fortunate considering some of
the puzzles put her at high altitude. I wondered if the whole game was
taking place while Lilly was dreaming, but there was nothing in the game
to confirm whether or not that was the case.
Sometimes you play as Row -- a little in the beginning, and more in the
last chapter of the game. When both Lilly and Row appear on the same
screen, the game chooses which one performs an action depending on
which object you click to interact with. Late in the game they must work
together to solve puzzles.
Art, Animation, Sound
Probably the game's best feature is the art and how beautifully the
characters are animated. The music was fairy-tale-like and suited the
locations. Background sounds and sound effects were appropriate.
acting for Lilly and Row was performed by McKenna Laabs (Lilly) and her
younger brother Garrett Laabs (Row). It's very jarring when adults try
to imitate the voices of children (and often do a poor job), so the
developers are to be commended for seeking out talented child actors to
voice Lilly and Row.
Lilly acquires the magic goggles, she is able to switch between the
present and a past version of whatever location she is in. This can be
used to solve puzzles. For example, a seed placed in the right location
in the past may produce a tree or other plant in the present, which may
provide an exit to the next screen. Buildings that exist in the past may
not exist in the present, and vice versa. A route that's blocked in the
present may have a way through in the past.
of the puzzles use colors. For example one involved ringing colored
bells to light up a cave with different colors. Another puzzle involved
the colors of the flowers on a tree. Very pretty, but colorblind gamers
might have difficulties.
puzzles had a mechanical aspect and involved some experimentation to see
what happens when you move controls. Although the animations are
charming, they occasionally slow you down when trying to test puzzle
solutions. There is no inventory, though occasionally you can pick up
objects and use them elsewhere on the screen. Sometimes you click the
object on a location to use it there; other times you pick up the object
and wave it around over the right area until it has an effect.
are a few puzzles that involve timing, though knowing where to click is
more important than fast reflexes.
Puzzles tend to be on the easy side. If you get stuck, you can always
click the question mark icon in the lower right corner. It will
highlight clickable areas, which is more useful in some puzzles than in
Looking Through is a point-and-click game. It automatically saves at the
beginning of every level. By the end of the game, you have a collection
of ten saves -- one per chapter. The save screen is only for loading
saves. There is no way to manually save your game, and as far as I could
tell, the game does not save progress within a level. But the levels
aren't long once you've figured out what to do so you don't lose too
game starts with a brief tutorial which explains how the question mark
icon in the lower right of the screen will highlight interactive areas.
It also informs you how you can "drag" the screen to get a slightly
different view. Other than that you're on your own, but the controls
don't take too long to figure out and you can't get into too much
trouble by just clicking icons to see what they do. For example, an icon
that looks like two rectangles will make the game play windowed. When
windowed, the icon changes to a single rectangle to indicate full
screen. Click the single rectangle, and the game switches back to full
screen. The gear icon takes you to the options screen. Another icon with
horizontal lines will show the credits. The arrow pointing left backs
you out. The X icon prompts you whether you wish to leave the game or
Looking Through ends with what looks like the beginning of the next
chapter. Also, the mystery of the grandfather's disappearance is
unresolved. I hope there will be a Lilly Looking Through 2.
Looking Through took me less than three hours to finish, and these days
I'm slower than most adventure gamers. But what there is; is wonderful,
and it's a great game to escape to for an afternoon or evening.
Minimum Requirements for PC:
OS: Windows XP or
GHz or faster x86-compatible processor
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 420 MB
Minimum Requirements for Mac:
OS: OS X 10.6
Leopard or later
Processor: 2.0 GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo processor or faster processor
Memory: 2 GB RAM