Lydia's Heart

by Jim Aikin profile


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Number of Ratings: 27
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- sw3dish, October 13, 2022

- doodlelogic, August 18, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Immersive slow horror., April 20, 2020
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Horror, Puzzler

"Let's get out of this cabin and go to the shack. No wait! What have I got in my hands? Put that in the sack so no one will see it. Phew, lucky I thought of that."

While playing Lydia's Heart I was well and truly immersed in the story, caring enough about my PC to not go "adventuring " all over the place. I left rooms as I found them, put books back on the shelves after reading them, closed cupboards after searching them,... Most of the time this was unnecesary, but this game made it feel natural.

The writing is great. Clear descriptions that also give you the feel of the place. Some of the puzzles I needed a nudge with, but they were all well integrated in the story.

And what a good story it is! Or better, how well is this story told! Those who like a bit of Lovecraft now and then will not read anything new, but they, and hopefully all others will read a thrilling, frightening adventure.

- getlostdont, July 5, 2019

- Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA), June 22, 2018

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A daring escape with a just setback or two, July 15, 2017
by Cory Roush (Ohio)

I love Lydia's Heart, except my own heart broke playing it... but we'll get to that.

The characters in this story are really quite diverse. There are some stereotypes at play, of course, but you have a chance to get to know almost every single one of them and they each have different reasons for being a part of the story.

The puzzles? Difficult, but aside from a really cruel maze, I required very little assistance to solve any of them. The solutions are logical, and it always felt as if I had the right tool (or at least knew where I could probably find it) when I needed it. I'm never a fan of IF that forces you to be a kleptomaniac pack-rat right from the start. In this game you certainly could act that way (in fact, there's a "holdall" sack available to you right from the start) but if you choose to interact with the game as a teenage girl would do, you never feel forced to pick up things just because they're on the ground or on a nearby shelf.

All that being said, I was very disappointed to find at least one scenario that made the game unwinnable. As a disclaimer, I am not the kind of person who saves their game very often. I usually forget, which is my own failing. However, this particular "mistake" was not well broadcast to me and I played the game for at least another hour before realizing what had happened. (Spoiler - click to show)A very important item is hidden inside a container that is initially locked when you find it. You have to steal the container from a cabin that is empty at one point in the story, but inhabited later. I successfully stole the container but made the fatal mistake of trying to enter the cabin later when the inhabitant already came inside... basically, if you go in the direction of the closed door, you automatically knock on it and the person comes to the door. Since I had the locked valise in my hands when the owner came to the door, he took it. And there's no way to get it back. The message that you see when this happens, though, is very similar to what you would expect to see if you tried to enter the cabin with the item safely stored away, and so I just proceeded to go on without trying to restore an earlier save or UNDO. Just a fair warning!

I dislike these scenarios so much that I didn't even bother to go back and try again, because I felt like I was at least 90-95% of the way through the game.

I would have loved to witness the ending, but a decision on the author's part to let realism trump enjoyment stopped that dead in its tracks. Good luck, Diane - I hope you made it out alive!

- Laney Berry, June 10, 2017

- Denk, May 7, 2017

- winterfury (Russia), December 10, 2016

- CasualGamer33356, October 15, 2015

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
One of the largest games out there, with very hard puzzles and great plot, August 26, 2015
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours

Lydia's Heart is a game in the class of Anchorhead, Mulldoon Legacy, Curses!, and Worlds Apart in terms of size and story. To see the size of the game, check out the provided map, and realize that 90% of the rooms have their own detailed puzzle.

First, the story. You play a young girl at a southern motel who is entrapped in the mysterious plottings of a cult. You must find a way to escape their clutches. There are twelve or more NPC's, each of which can be asked numerous questions. The twelve NPCS's are mostly static, but later they move about a bit. The workings of the cult are explored in great detail, both at the motel and other locations.

As for puzzles, they are very, very difficult. This is the same author as Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina, which had very difficult puzzles as well. As an example, there are several locks in the game, which are opened in three or four different ways, two of which are almost never done in IF games. Items must be gathered from far away and assembled into one whole. Characters must be encouraged to move. And some just completely improbable actions must be taken.

However, I took a simple approach; I would just go as far as I could without getting frustrated, then start consulting the hints. The hint system is AMAZING. Just get as many hints as you need. Don't feel bad about it! The author intended this game as more of a story than just a puzzle fest; by consulting the first few hints for each puzzle, you're just making the level of difficulty low enough that the puzzles are still fun, but the story can still progress.

Several reviewers complained about mazes, but they don't realize that sometimes mazes are fun. The author allows you to bypass them with magic words, but then people feel mad about missing 100% completion. I subscribe to a different view; I love stories and settings, and I would rather skip all puzzles in a game to get a good story. Puzzles are fun, but they aren't the reason I play IF (except for Ad Verbum and Praser 5).

- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- Macaroni-cheese (The Village), March 16, 2014

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 10, 2013

- luftmensch (Germany), May 8, 2013

- E.K., August 15, 2012

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Loved it, June 23, 2012

I am fairly new-ish to IF games. I usually play the more shorter games. I started to play this- at first I had to restart a few time as i was not totally committed and made stupid mistakes, but once i got into it- I loved it. I havent completed it yet- but I cant stop playing. It is worth the effort and time. I would say perhaps best for intermediaries- but it is definately something you should cut your teeth on before trying other more involved games.

- MonochromeMolly, November 15, 2011

- Ben Cressey (Seattle, WA), October 1, 2011

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A Solid Puzzle Game, May 28, 2010
by Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA)
Related reviews: Puzzle

I love puzzles and spookiness, and have been looking for a game to hold up to my personal favorite spooky puzzle game, Anchorhead.

Lydia's Heart is not as spooky as Anchorhead. However, the setting is vividly described and the plot of the story created a sense of urgency in places, enough so that I jumped at least a few times when my husband interrupted me.

The puzzles were logical and interesting. A word of warning to future players, however, that sometimes looking in the same place at a different point in the game can yield a new item. This particular facet of the game was my one big point of frustration, since generally in IF I expect to find everything in an area when it's searched. However, I think if I'd known from the beginning that some areas could yield new items when I had different needs, I would have found the puzzles to be less frustrating. As it was, I ended up referring to the in-game hint system far more often than I like.

- freeform (Taiwan), May 14, 2010

- Aina Grey, April 8, 2010

- Andreas Teufel (Poland), March 19, 2010

- googoogjoob, November 9, 2008

- brattish (Canada), October 26, 2008

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