Desi Leaves Town, available on the App Store now, has done something remarkable. It surprised me. The colorful screenshot above might suggest that it's a kids' storybook app, but it's not. In fact, most of the kids I know would find its story boring. Instead, Desi Leaves Town is an experiment that combines art, literature, and puzzles in a compelling way.
Compelling but not perfect. The story, which is based on a French novel, is sometimes hard to follow, with many flowery words. Some puzzles are confounding, too. That could be a result of the game's style, but a few smarter design choices would make them more fun.
But even the questionable design choices are bold and interesting. The charming script is well acted, and the game's absurdity (Desi is an aristocratic frog determined to improve his tiresome urban existence) is excellently counter-weighted by the heavy themes being dealt with.
There's a lot to experience in Desi Leaves Town, a fascinating title that's more than it seems. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but if you favor art and the intellectual, and are willing to forgive a few design errors, spend the $3.99 to give Desi Leaves Town a try.