Save the fireflies, save the world.
Lil Big Invasion is a charming little puzzle game by Andreas Britten, that can now be picked up on Steam. The very fact that this was developed by a single person in their spare time over the course of two years, is testament to their skill and imagination, and casts an impressive light over the entire game. My hat goes off to Andreas Britten for creating such a charming game and dealing with the many frustrations of game development. The fact that the game is actually really good feels like a bonus.
The player takes on the role of a Firefly guard, charged with keeping the youngsters out of the dangerous dungeons. However, through a moment of weakness, and entire swarm of those mischievous youngsters manage to get past the guard and are trapped in the 40 dungeons you were supposed to be guarding. It is down to the player to rescue as many of these young flies as possible, facing the dangers of each dungeon, one after another, to make up for your mistake.
There is not much story beyond this, but really any more story is not needed. Lil Big Invasion is a game that stands purely on the simple gameplay and ever more complex dungeon design. The visuals are also simple, bright and colourful with a sense of cuteness that would look at home on a mobile. Given that Lil Big Invasion supports touch devices (those running Windows) alongside the traditional mouse input, I would not be surprised to find this game on iOS or Android in the future, especially given the more casual gameplay.
The first dungeon acts as a tutorial of sorts, giving the player a chance to get used to the way the game plays. Using the mouse, or indeed touch controls, the player simply drags the Firefly guard through the dungeon, hunting for those missing flies. The complication is that moving will use up light energy, eventually causing the Firefly’s light to go out. Various charging stations are situated through the dungeons where the guard can recharge their light. The light is what attracts the little flies. Simply move close to them and they will follow as long as the light shines. Once the player has gathered as many as they can, head to the exit where the flies will be sucked up and freed back into the overworld.
But things are never that simple. As the player progresses through the different dungeons, more and more obstacles present themselves. Objects trapping the flies or blocking a route, switches to be pressed which cause the flies to break free from your glow and begin to scatter, hidden routes, spider webs. There are even boss fights to deal with. Despite the simplicity of the game, Lil Big Invasion certainly offers a challenge.
Players don’t have to collect all of the flies from each dungeon to progress, although there are a few barriers along the way where players will have had to collect a minimum number of flies through the previous dungeons. Scoring depends on the time a player takes to reach the exit, with the number of flies rescued acting as a multiplyer. Achievements are awarded for finding all of the flies in each dungeon, and each dungeon also has a global leaderboard so players can compare their Firefly skills against the best players around the world, which is great for replayability.
Lil Big Invasion is an impressive first game for a solo developer. It is bright and colourful, simple to play, yet challenging, and offers replayability for leaderboard positions and achievements. With 40 levels and the replayability, there is plenty of game here for the low price tag. If you fancy something a little different to play in your down time, Lil Big Invasion is well worth checking out.
Find Lil Big Invasion on Steam, priced at £4.99.