At 12 years old, precocious Lil simply wants to spend her days out adventuring with her friends. But her dad has other ideas. You see, he’s the guardsman of the castle gate, but rather than actually doing his job, he’d rather go off and do some illegal gambling. So he entrusts Lil to take over his role. That means she’s got to interrogate everyone entering the castle, and either grant or deny their entry. A lot of power for a 12 year old, you might think.
The best way to describe Lil Guardsman is to compare it to Papers, Please. But rather than been set in a communist state, it’s set in a cutesy, cartoon fantasy land. It’s packed with humour, and thanks to every character being voiced to a high standard, it’s going to make you laugh time and time again. The demo we’ve played through is only short, but it’s made us keen to see more. Lil is a spunky character who isn’t afraid to speak her mind – you’re just going to want to think carefully about the choices you make. You see, there’s more to Lil Guardsman than just vetting the people passing through the gate.
Most decisions you make have an impact on the world you’re in – known as The Sprawl. Let in the wrong person, or deny someone important, and it’s going to have an effect later on. We’re yet to see exactly how those choices will matter: the demo ends after our first day. But we’re intrigued to see exactly how Lil will shape The Sprawl.
It seems we’ll also have the chance to engage in other activities outside of our guardsman booth, too. The end of the demo saw us play through a “Gameshow” of sorts, choosing an adventurer to go out to save a missing princess. Later, we’ll also be able to explore parts of the town. Perhaps it’s in these sections the weight of our decisions will really be felt.
What’s truly captured us in Lil Guardsman, however, is its gorgeous art style. 2D and hand drawn, it looks simply beautiful: bold, colourful and packed with personality. Its characters are simply delightful and we can’t wait to meet more of them. So far, we’ve had run-ins with a troll mum wanting to rescue her kids from their wicked stepmother, a goblin wanting to visit the bank for seemingly nefarious reasons, and a vampire we’re pretty sure wants to take over the world. Lil Guardsman’s Steam page promises over 100 characters, and we’re excited to meet each one of them.
There’s no release date for Lil Guardsman just yet, but it’s set to release later this year on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC. If you want to try it for yourself, the demo is available to try for free on Steam.