Liyla and the shadow of war is a small game that follows Liyla, a Palestinian man who finds himself in the middle of the warzone in Gaza. Liyla has to escape the aerial bombardments, run from enemy and friendly fire, hide when he senses a danger and overcome all sorts of obstacles that will keep him from reuniting with his young daughter and wife. However great danger lies in every step of the way…
The style of gameplay is quite common in adventure games that we have seen before and there is not too much of a challenge when you try to go from one level to the other. Nevertheless, the smart tasks, the amazing minimalistic graphics and most of all the sound effects make the game really stand out. The goal of the game is to make one realize the experience of someone who found himself in the middle of a war and that, the game manages really well. Often gamers protest that the games which try to communicate a social message focus too much on that but neglect the things that make a game actually fun and interesting to play. We are surely not looking at one of these games.
The experience of playing Liyla and the shadow of war can only be described as a very deep and strong one, for a smartphone game. We recommend that you follow the advice of the designer Rasheed Abueideh, and you play the game with headphones on and preferably in a dark room. It might sound like putting too much effort for a small game but it is not. If you decide to play try to get the most out of what it has to offer. The dark graphics of the game and the astounding sound effects really manage to put you into the shoes of Liyla. Of course, nor we or the designer can claim that the game can make you feel like actually being in a battlefield or losing your family but it promises that you will feel more empathy by playing it than you would by reading any article or watching any news about a war.
The recommended age of young people who should try the game would be from 15 to adults. This doesn’t mean that younger people shouldn’t play the game or that it could be too traumatic, but the player should have some basic understanding of the concept of war and its real consequences. The game depicts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Gaza Strip and the storytelling is biased against the Israeli part. Moreover, the designer claims that the story of Liyla is actually a real story of a Palestinian individual and invites players to visit the website of the game after they have finished it in order to learn more about the Palestinian view. We recommend that the young people should focus on the gameplay experience that resembles any war between any opponents, anywhere in the world. We present Liyla and the shadow of war as a mean of sensitization and not of political propaganda.
Download Liyla and the shadow of war for Android and iOS HERE