So, I got this game called The Mirror Lied, by Freebird Games. It’s this indie game that is… well, it doesn’t really have a genre. Alternative maybe? Can that be a thing here?
This game has inspired countless pages of speculation and analysis online, and so I got kind of interested. What could possibly be so interesting about this little RPG, this small indie game that just popped up one day and took the so many by surprise? I knew I had to try it, and couldn’t type the name into Google without getting any spoilers, so I knew it was time to take advantage of this free download. Let’s have a look.
WARNING: Spoilers. From this point forward. Completely. So I really suggest you play the game first, and you can download it for FREE here: http://www.desura.com/games/the-mirror-lied
What an interesting game. I thought it was a horror RPG from the second I opened it. The first thing you see are a few clips of an empty house. And then this phrase come on screen:
A bird landed on water today. It flew away. Come’re, birdy. Oh, too late.
You start off as this little girl, who wakes up in a bed and finds herself alone in a house. At least, think she’s alone. She’s a small redhead, with a cute tawny dress on, sleeping surrounded by stuffed animals. And, oh yeah, she has no eyes.
Yeah. “Great!” I thought, “Let’s get started.” So upon leaving the room I made my way to a staircase. One thing I can say right off the bat is that the house seems to have this atmosphere that just gets at me. It’s amazing unsettling and quiet with nothing but the ticking of a clock. Not even 5 minutes into this game and I can’t help but feel incredibly lonely. The atmosphere is like… just imagine being in your house as a kid when no one else is home. And there are clocks everywhere. Yeah, you’re welcome.
So I go downstairs and head into a room that seems normal enough. A study, I’m guessing. I take a look around and there’s some good stuff here! I go to the bookshelf and I get a text box: “The books have titles, but the pages are blank”. And then I go to the table. “Assorted book with smudged titles.” There’s a computer I need an access card to log into, a map of the world, and a globe that is apparently emitting a strange odor, or so the game tells me. And what’s under the microscope?
Huh. Alright, seems innocent enough. Moving on.
So I head out the door to the dining room, and here’s the scene. Paintings on the walls, cabinets, a large dining room table to the right, and a mysterious staircase. And right in front of me, a plant. It looks kind of lonely so I stop for a moment and name it Ralph. He’s thirsty apparently! ’ll remedy this situation quickly enough, I’m sure. So I head over to the cabinets to search for anything useful, and I get… pesticide and a small key. Ok. Fair enough.
I also picked up a teddy bear. And a bucket.
Afterwards I head into the other rooms scattered among the hallway, nothing particularly intriguing or out of place in any of them. There’s a wooden chest I need to get into, but I have no key. I went into the bathroom were I found a filled bathtub, a toilet in the corner, a lamp and painting.
I head back into the hallway and water Ralph. And holy crap! The plant grows to twice its size. I guess this plant just makes as much sense as the rest of this house. And then the phone starts ringing. So I head over, pick up the line, and guess who’s there?
Hi, Leah. Birdie grew wings today. Wait for me, Leah.
Hm. Ok. Maybe it’s my… father? My sister. My cat. Ok, I have no idea. They hang up the phone, that creepy AOL dial up noise plays, and I’m alone again. Right. I’m not scared. This isn’t a horror game at all.
While I was still at the table, I decided to take a look at an object sitting on the left half of the dining table. It appeared to be a small box, and I received a prompt to open it. A rather melodic, yet somewhat cryptic music box tune of jingles and bells started playing. “Hey!” I thought, “I found the soundtrack!” Pretty creative stuff, and great timing since the only other background noise of a ticking clock was starting to freak me out. So I thought it was time to try out that mysterious flight of stairs and I went down into what must be the basement. I saw two boilers to the left and a room down below. I tried to enter, but the door was barred by a table.
Alright…. To the right I saw a panel with three switches. I toggled the first one, and then the second, but the third was stuck. All I got was a note that said “Wait for me at 3:26”. Sure. I trust that. So I head back into the study and check the microscope again.
Meh. It probably means nothing. So at this point I’m completely lost. Where do I go? No clue. This is not a hard game at all, but it can get pretty confusing if you aren’t paying attention. I decided to head back upstairs to my room to look for clues, and behold! There’s a bathroom to the left of the screen. And there’s another bathtub. Filled with water. And a toilet. I flushed it, and there’s apparently something stuck in it… I got a piano key! So I go to the piano and play a song. Cool. That does nothing.
I head back downstairs to check on my little plant friend and of course he’s thirsty. I top him off, he grows, and I notice that the room seems a little different…
Yeah. So the paintings are empty now. They ran off. No, I have no explanation or any of this. I wander back into the study and there’s a shiny thing on the wall. It’s a wooden key. Cool! Now I can open that chest in the other room I’ve been eyeing. I also check the microscope.
Um. I walk out and head over to the adjacent room and open the wooden chest to receive a tiny key. I walk back out to the hallway and the phone starts ringing. Great.
Hi Leah. It’s 3:26. End. Ok, it’s time to see what all this is about. I head back down to the basement and unlock a small chest with the tiny key.
Sure. Why not. I then head to the levers and toggle switch 3 at last, and hear what sounds like some sort of muffled explosion. I head back upstairs…….
I’m sorry, allow me to zoom in on that face.
OHMAGEEEERD my house is on fire! What?! How! What… who lets a little girl set her own house on fire?! I’m probably 12! I may not have a face but I still have feelings! And quite frankly, I’m a little hurt.
So I run around like an idiot trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do – a way out or maybe a safe zone – but there are none. The whole bloody house is on gosh dern fire, shaking and quaking and red injury screens constantly flashing, and I’m stuck. I tried to head back downstairs, but that was a stupid move since the boiler literally exploded, sending me back up into the dining room.
Then that darn phone rings.
Hello Leah. Don’t be afraid. Birdy flew away today. Catch it on its way over Africa. Sleep it off, it’s not too late. Bye, Leah.
Yeah, yeah. Ok. Wait, what? Sleep it off? Are you nuts! But at this point I’m out of options, so I decide to take the helpful advice and head up to my room and crawl into bed. Then I sleep.
So after the whole “I burnt my house down thing” Leah wakes up in a bed on a table downstairs. Ok. I would also like to point out that the room is in completely perfect condition… except for the bed… for it’s situation. Our little lady doesn’t seem to care in any case, and hops down off the table, ready to get started once more.
I walk down the hall and I see two blue arrows pointing me towards the plant. Looks dry, so I head into the bathroom to get it some water. It looks a little strange, like… darker somehow. But I ignore it and head over to see Ralph. After I water him (it’s a boy) I walk back into the study. Nothing too strange it seems, and I can’t do anything until I get an access card for the computer. So I head over to check on the microscope.
Yup, seems about right. I walk out and head upstairs to my room. I didn’t even realize that the phone was there until it started ringing. I picked it up.
It’s open, dummy. The table was burnt off. It’s no longer blocked. Go under, and don’t forget to drink water.
I hang up figure that it’s probably time to head to the basement. I head downstairs, and as soon as I try to open the door I receive a prompt to shoot the lock with my pistol. “Great! I thought, until I realized I had no bullets. Touché game, I get you. I have to earn the right to use this gun, like a good 12 year old. Alrighty then.
I walk upstairs and wander for a few minutes, watering that greedy plant until I remember that there is a cabinet! And I had a key! I searched through until I found the right drawer, and I used my small key to get a medium key. Sure, that works. Now what?
Bullets, that’s what! Turns out I needed to go to the cabinet to the left of the cabinet I was at, use the key to get another key, then use that keep to open up the first cabinet I was at before. Then I get two bullets.
I get back downstairs and shoot at the lock, which lets me into what seems to be an office of sorts. There is a blackboard with math equations and books scattered on the table, all in some foreign language, the game informs me. I walk over to a shining object and receive… an access card! Finally! Now I can head back to the study and pop this puppy in. Once at the computer I login, noticing that the map has lost yet more pieces of itself. Only Eur—Afri-Whatever is left.
Turns out that I have 7 unread messages, starting at 2:06 PM and ending at 8:01 PM. I begin to pour through them one by one.
1. Leah, abandon birdie, it lies to you.
By the way, right after I opened this, half of the map disappeared.
2. Leah did you see my message?
3.You must kill birdie before it flies over Europe, Leah. Respond ASAP.
4. It just flew over Europe. What are you doing, Leah?
5. Respond Leah, the birdie is coming.
6. We had a deal, Leah. Respond.
7. I have to go. Kill the birdie at all costs, Leah. Good bye.
Ok, officially creeped out at this point. Kill the birdie? “Alright” I’m thinking, “but I don’t know why you’re so upset man. According to the map, Europe doesn’t even exist anymore!” So I walk to the bathroom to get some water for Ralph. I look at the tub. I question the tub.
And yeah. That water is definitely red. So I leave, water my buddy, then hear the phone start ringing. It somehow got downstairs onto the dining room floor. I… didn’t do that.
Hi, Leah. This is birdie. Birdie is about to fly over you. Have you been drinking lots of water?
A pile of glass crashes in front of the plant.
Good. Come, Leah. Dial tone.
It’s finally go time! But first, I head into the study out of curiosity just to check… and yep, the map is completely empty. I walk back out to Ralph and douse him in pesticide. Once he’s all ready, I start climbing.
We are not at a cutscene. I find myself on the roof at night. Little Leah raises her arms, and a giant white bird dives down and carries her off.
They fly for a few seconds until the sky suddenly turns blood red, and I see Leah pull out her pistol.
The screen goes black, and she shoots. When the image returns, Leah is gone, and the bird flies alone for a few seconds in the night sky before it starts flashing, and disappears as well. Then credits roll.
Confused? Yeah. Then you’ve pretty much just played The Mirror Lied. It’s hard to explain this game, so I hope that you were able to glean some understanding about the actual gameplay from this walkthrough. More so than just show where everything is and providing spoilers for those who are curious, I really wanted to show my own view of the game and the thought process I had while playing it. So this is more so for enjoyment than instruction. And at some point I thought that if I wrote out what I was seeing, the game might make more sense. But nah, didn’t happen.
But seriously check it out. Get on desura.com and get yourself this game! It’s free, and if anything it’ll make you think. And that is what I enjoy about it. Every time you replay it there’s something new to discover, and when you find a game with that quality to it, you know it’s worth checking out.