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Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (sideways)
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25th March 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
You take control of a thin white line that's on a mission to get to its destination at the end of each level. Stages are designed a lot like two-dimensional race tracks, with the camera looking at all the action from above. As the line makes its way across the plane, you'll need to cautiously control its up and down movements to avoid hitting walls. To play, you hold the Wii Remote on its side, using the built-in tilt mechanisms to move the line along a fluctuating, sometimes spastic pathway. You'll encounter translucent horizontal bars situated in designated spots on the track that correspond to the beats of the background music. Before you pass over them completely, you'll need to press one of the buttons on the controller with good timing. Each time you collide with a wall or mess up on the timing of the beats will result in a loss of points. If you manage to make it to the end without losing all of your points, you'll unlock the next track for play.
There are a good number of stages to try out in the game, each featuring unique songs that last a decent amount of time. Not all of the 14 songs in the game feel strong in the level of connection they aim to provide, but as a whole, there's a nice range of varied tunes to keep things interesting. Making mistakes during gameplay will not only result in a loss of points. You're also penalized by having to contend with low-tone sound effects that can disrupt your concentration, in addition to a loss in forcefulness with the background music. As a result, the music takes a bit of a back seat, refusing to return to normal until you successfully match the timing of an upcoming beat once again. With each passing horizontal bar you clear, sharp lines will appear in the background to set the mood and tell a story which fit nicely with the overall feel of the game's soundtrack. The songs included are quite mixed when you look at them individually -- engaging and thought-provoking at one moment, then tame and awkward the next. Either way, I really enjoyed listening to the songs featured in this game especially the way in which the overall feeling was usually conveyed through the nature of the track designs. I found the names for each of the stages to be clever as well.
The controls in the game definitely take some time to get used to. The tilt controls are more sensitive than you'd expect, even if you're used to using a similar control scheme in other games. So for a good while, you'll be over-compensating when you make your way across the narrow openings. Although lilt line appears to aim for a pick-up-and-play approach, less and less of that becomes apparent as you continue playing. Although the Training stage is a breeze and the first couple stages present little in the way of challenging obstacles, as you start reaching the halfway mark, you'll notice even more abrupt changes and dips along the path that test your ability to control your movements.
Sad to say, though, as the difficulty continues to ramp up, your appreciation for the game diminishes. I found the first few levels to be somewhat enjoyable, but as those moments passed, I started to lose interest in the rest of the game. lilt line's staying power does not last for an extended period of time, even for the modest objective of picking it up once in a while on the weekend. Only a select few will see this as being more than a short-lived experience; everyone else will lament they've seen all there is to see before even reaching the final level. When all is said and done, I felt lilt line just barely escaped the pit of being labelled as dull. It presents some interesting ideas to be sure, but it doesn't contain nearly enough reasons for players to continue playing in the long run.
On that note, the developers did try to encourage replay value by making use of an interesting scoring system. It's designed in such a way that your points act as your health, decreasing with each hit you sustain. Obviously, this approach is quite different from other games of this style where you have points being accumulated or lives measuring how much health you have. This allows the player to aim for perfect runs on each of the songs, but any sort of motivation to aim for high-scores wears off very quickly.
The main problem I have with lilt line is that it's just not that fun to play. It's kind of a neat venture initially, but its fun factor doesn't hold up as you get deeper in the game. On a more positive note, the soundtrack is great and definitely deserves a listen, but I'd recommend doing so outside the game. If this looks appealing, then you still may want to give it a shot as there is a chance you might actually see this in a slightly more positive light. For some, that chance might be worth taking, but most would be better off observing it from a distance if you don't have lots of points to spend on the Wii Shop Channel. Even for someone like me who loves music games, lilt line didn't take enough of a hold on me that I'd feel comfortable recommending it to everyone.
19/30 - Okay/Average
Gameplay 7/10 - Gameplay mechanics are simple, controls are sensitive and a bit funny to get used to at first, interesting track designs to convey feeling
Presentation 7/10 - Sharp lines appear in the background to tell a story, songs featured in the game are engaging yet sometimes awkward, different style
Enjoyment 2/5 - Moderately enjoyable at first but it does wear off very quickly, good incorporation of the background music to engage players
Extra Content 3/5 - A total of 15 stages to choose from which isn't bad for the price, can aim for perfect runs but most won't bother doing so
Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)