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Lilt Line preview: Stay between the lines


You know those Highlights magazines and coloring books you used to doodle in as a kid? Imagine your life depended on your ability to stay within the lines, only your arm had a mind of its own and the image you were coloring is constantly changing as you try to color it. Yeah, we had the same nightmare as kids ... and also, that's pretty much Lilt Line on Wii, the first game to be published – as opposed to developed – by Gaijin Games, the predominantly WiiWare dev studio behind the Bit.Trip series.

For the unaware, Lilt Line is an iPhone game and the 2010 IGF Mobile award winner for Audio Achievement developed by Different Cloth. In it, you've got a line, moving on its own from the left side of the screen to the right. By tilting the handheld, you navigate through increasingly tighter and more complicated areas, all in an attempt to avoid touching the wall. It's like a trippy version of Operation. Now imagine that same experience, just now it's on your TV and you play it by tilting a Wiimote.

There's also a musical component. As your little white line navigates these colorful catacombs, large lines perpendicular to the path you're on will show up. As your line passes through them, you've gotta tap the screen (or any button, in the case of the WiiWare version here), making up the rhythm component of the game.

CEO and designer at Gaijin Games, Alex Neuse, demoed the game for me at PAX. When asked why Gaijin Games wanted to publish this particular game on WiiWare, he told me he just "really likes it" and sees it as a great fit for the console. It has the same minimalist artistic style shared by his own games and a control scheme that seems natural for the Wiimote -- very basic and easy to grasp. He has high hopes for this one.

It's really a tense experience to actually play it. At the outset of each level, I experienced an immense panic as I tried to get my white line on the right path, away from the wall. But after those first few seconds of trying to orient myself, I found the game was easy to get a grasp of and play. It's one of those great pick-up-and-play titles, where you can get in a level and when you're done, put it down and go on about your day. As a brief diversion, Lilt Line is a great time.

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