Anybody who looks at the games I review can parse that I tend to gravitate towards shorter games as, quite simply, it is far easier to get through one game a week if it is 10 hours long or less, and I try to parse out games that take 20+ hours with games that take only a fraction as much time. So without further ado, Lily’s Day Off, one of the briefest games I’ve covered on this site, and actually a pretty nifty visual novel.
Lily’s Day Off Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Lily’s Day Off begins with an unnamed person, who I actually do not think is so much as gendered come to think of it, waking up on a street not too far away from a person who they recognizes as a pop idol by the name of Lilypad Lily, who they naturally approach. From this meeting point, the story is then left very open ended, with the player’s decisions wildly altering the story, as different paths change the two’s personalities, their history, the internal logic of the story, and just what kind of story is even being told. One playthrough can be a typical love story about two who meet and start dating after a while, but that can be spun off into a stalker story, while another route can turn the two into a murderous duo of malicious serial killers.
It is actually impressive how wildly the story can veer off in unique directions, and how consistent these brief stories, which only last 5-10 minutes, can be. When taken on their own, every storyline makes sense, and while none of them are really developed, I found the act of perusing through all of them to be very enjoyable due to the multiple permutations of the characters and scenarios along with the competent writing. However, the most surprising part for me was how all of these stories are tied together and the justification used for them. Though, I would have probably enjoyed the reveal more if it was my last ending of the possible 16 instead of my third.
If you paused to do the math there, you would reach the conclusion that the game is quite short, and it very much is, which limits what else I can say about the storyline itself. It is silly and enjoyable little romp that has enough variety to make for a very entertaining hour. Unfortunately, there are a few oddities or oversights on the more technical end that I feel like explaining because of how this review would struggle to surpass 500 words otherwise.
There is no ability to save and reload from a decision point, but the game does feature a skip function, albeit a bit of a limited one. It fails to skip past moments where the text boxes go away in favor of some sort of visual effect. While these are not too common throughout the game, there are two in place before the first choice, meaning they will always stagger the act of skipping through the introductory scene.
The 16 endings are only somewhat sensibly numbered, with the majority of them corresponding to how ending number 1 would be the result of the first choice of every option, and ending number 16 being the result of the last choice in every option. Excluding a few instances where this rule is broken, possibly due to how the order of choices were changed partway through development, or some things were just misnumbered. It incredibly minor oversight that I would assume the developer to have noticed before the game was released.
The game does not support keyboard controls in any way, with the usual Enter key or Spacebar failing to advance dialog, and the Control key failing to skip it. This means that everything needs to be done with the mouse, which I would not really mind, except for the fact that clicking on the screen causes a barrage of stars to come squirting out of the cursor. You actually can change the color and increase quantity of stars in a secret menu, but there is no way to decrease the number of stars, let alone remove them entirely.
As for the visual components, the the only shown character in this entire game is the titular Lily, who has a variety of facial expressions and outfits you may put her in, but only one pose. I actually do enjoy her design , even if it is a bit simple, and bubbly nature of her design combined with the aesthetic of the UI and menus help give this game a very cute vibe that makes the instance of murder featured throughout it seem a lot less gruesome. Also, there is a secret Live2D test where you can have Lily look around, which is a bit odd, but still cute nonetheless.
As for the rest of the presentation, it’s mostly just a series of creative commons assets or royalty free assets, many of which I was actually familiar with. This goes for the soundtrack of royalty-free Kevin Macleod songs, some of which were in Press-Switch and Student Transfer, and the backgrounds, which are either blurred images obtained under a Creative Commons license or are free to use of backgrounds provided by Uncle Mugen of the Lemma Soft forums, some of which I recognized from the dragon dating sim Angels With Scaly Wings. Regardless, the assets are at least fairly appropriate, and do their job of acting as supplementary materials to the branching narrative
The branching narrative is really the core drive of Lily’s Day Off, and it does make for an enjoyable at a times surprising nonlinear visual novel with an interesting method of storytelling, a surprising amount of narrative variety, and even a few oddball extras thrown in just for the heck of it. It’s a cute and interesting little game that I would actually fully recommend, even if it is largely an hour long novelty.