Lil’ Guardsman is a deduction adventure game inspired by indie hit titles like Papers, Please and Night in the Woods. In Lil’ Guardsman, players take on the role of 12-year-old hero Lil, who has the tricky task of choosing who to admit into the fantasy kingdom. Lil’ Guardsman differs from its various inspirations by fusing cozy, comedy, and fantasy elements, all three of which do not often appear together in video games.
Fans of Night in the Woods and point-and-click games like Papers, Please could have a lot of fun with Lil’ Guardsman, while also treating themselves to something genuinely novel. In a recent interview with Game Rant, Hilltop Studios’ co-founders Artiom Komarov and Scott Christian spoke about how Papers, Please and Night in the Woods inspired Lil’ Guardsman, plus other influences. Komarov and Christian also talked about how they feel about the comparisons to these games and how Lil’ Guardsman distinguishes itself.
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How Papers, Please And Night In The Woods Inspired Lil’ Guardsman
Although over ten years old, Papers, Please is a classic point-and-click game that still holds up well today. While it was always a race against the clock to process as many papers as possible, many long-time fans still delight in attempting speed runs. Komarov praised Papers, Please for its genre-defining success, describing it as “a towering achievement in indie gaming that jump-started a whole new genre.” While Komarov stated they enjoyed several games inspired by it, including Your Grace and Death and Taxes, he identified Papers, Please as a core inspiration:
We really liked the idea of a funny, fantasy, cozy take on Papers, Please.
Night in the Woods also received a lot of praise for its storytelling, which inspired Lil’ Guardsman‘s own approach and is one reason the devs wanted humor at the heart of their game. Komarov added Night in the Woods has both humor and heart “in spades” while being “incredibly ‘vibe-ey’ and quirky.” Certainly, Night in the Woods has a unique approach to storytelling through its humorous dialogue and interactions as protagonist Mae. Similarly, fans may enjoy the humor and character-driven storytelling Lil’ Guardsman offers, especially when players step foot into its world beyond the guard shed.
Lil’ Guardsman’s & Papers, Please
Equally, fans of Papers, Please may well appreciate Lil’Guardsman‘s different take on interrogation mechanics. Like Papers, Please, there are different deduction methods and tools for such, like the bull whip, but some features could also reduce the stress that Papers, Please might induce in some players, potentially making repetition and failing fun. This includes the ability to rewind time, no timer, and the opportunity for multiple playthroughs. As Komarov explained,
Tying back into Papers, Please – part of what makes that game so brilliant is the tension created by the setting and story, but also by the timer counting down. We knew we wanted Lil’ Guardsman to have a more cozy feel, and we also wanted to make sure a player could experiment, poke around, go back, and try different things before moving forward. Early on, I would challenge the team to ‘make failing fun’. Scott and the writers came up with the Chronometer3000 idea – a device for the rewind mechanic that’s cooked into the plot and narrative.
Overall, many players could find a lot of joy in Lil’ Guardsman‘s cozy, fantasy-themed comedy.
Lil’ Guardsman releases January 23, 2024, for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.