One of the things that I love about the indie game scene on Xbox One (and other platforms) is that there is such a huge variety of games. I’m not just talking about genres and ideas but also the size and scale of games. There are indie games that offer huge worlds that are akin to titles like The Witcher 3 or Fallout 4. There are also titles, though, that are smaller in scope but can provide just as much fun. One of these titles is the recently released Lily’s Epic Quest for Lost Gems from developer, Studio Craft Development.
The game plays like a cross between Steamworld Dig and Bejeweled. What this basically means is that you dig down into the ground by matching 3 similar gems. If this all sounds rather simplistic, you’d be entirely correct, but that’s not a bad thing. Lily’s Epic Quest is the perfect game for when you fancy a quick 5-minute blast of a game. However, don’t be surprised if you end up playing for several hours. I have put over 20 hours into the game so far and am only about halfway through the campaign.
The game started out as a mobile game called Digger: A Quest for Hidden Gems, but in moving to Xbox, the game has expanded. What we have on console is a title that is very easy to pick up and learn but will have you scratching your head at points as you try to figure out how to achieve your objectives. This is just what you want in a puzzle game, and the developers have absolutely nailed it here. There is so much to do here, and I estimate that it will take you over 40 hours to complete the game and you could easily sink 70+ hours into it. This is pretty impressive for a game that only costs $6.99
Each level has a specific objective for you to complete. This could be reaching a particular depth, clearing a certain number of blocks/gems, or collecting a set number/value of treasures. Once you have completed the objective you are free to either move straight on to the next level or keep digging in your current stage to level up your equipment or collect more treasure. There are even leaderboards to see who has collected the most treasure (well, the highest value of treasure). I found myself staying in levels when I was starting out as I wanted to upgrade my tools so that I could dig through harder materials and reach further into the depths. Once I reached the upgrade limit of my tools though, I would just carry onto the next level when I had completed the objective for that stage.
Visually the game is very simplistic. This isn’t a game that is pushing for photo-realism though. At the end of the day, it is a puzzle game, and those elements look perfectly fine for what it is. The onscreen HUD gives you all the info you’re after and once you know what you are looking at it all makes perfect sense. The sound is also pretty basic, but the music does a reasonable job of keeping a jolly tone throughout. You might want to turn the music off if you’re looking to do long play sessions though as it can get a bit repetitive.
All of this is nitpicking really as Lily’s Epic Quest for Lost Gems is a very cheap game that provides a lot of content. Like I said, you can spend hours playing through the campaign or just play through one or two levels at a time. The mechanics are sound, and the puzzles are fun yet can still be challenging. For less than $7 this game is a bargain.