As warm and inviting as the perfect summer day, Rub's short, free indie adventure game Lisa, made in just two months, is the perfect combination of awwww and hmmmm. The only description it gives you is that it's about a dog and a girl, but I'd more accurately call it "adorable, whimsical afternoon simulator". You control both a peppy blue pup and (eventually) a young girl as you explore and solve simple puzzles around the lazy countryside surrounding your tiny farm. The dog follows your cursor when you click, while right-clicking makes it bark (hold to release a bigger, mightier woof!), and the girl moves with [WASD], with [E] to whistle and call the dog to her, and [spacebar] to pick up and throw certain objects. All of this is relayed via signs and images, as Lisa is a game entirely without words, leaving you to intuit what characters want, and you'll need to explore everywhere. It's the type of game that may only take you ten or fifteen minutes, but is so cozy and sweet you'll wish it was much, much longer.
The only real flaws with Lisa is that the ending feels abrupt in a way that almost makes it feel like a demo, and it's also a little bittersweet in context compared to the happy romp the rest of the game entails. This is the sort of game we need more of, with its simple yet evocative visuals and comforting atmosphere, less something you "win", and more something you simply experience. It's big on charm, from the characters to the sound effects, and it leaves you wanting more, especially since there are only a few real puzzles. The ending just feels as if it comes out of nowhere, and is strange enough, even given the relative whimsical weirdness of the rest of the game, that it makes me feel like it might make more sense to the specific person the game was made "for", as Rub has said that the game was made for a friend. Despite that, Lisa is still a game that virtually everyone will enjoy their time with, from the clever contextual puzzle solving to the mellow mood that sort of makes you wish you had more days like that yourself. While you'll probably wish it had been expanded on more, Lisa is still the perfect pick-me-up whenever you need a dose of the warm fuzzies, and proof that not all games need to be about high scores and end games.
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