One of my favorite indie games is LiEat. A game that follows the Lie-eating Dragon Efina and the con-artist she views as a father. The game is divided into three parts. Despite its simplicity, the trilogy has a minimalist approach to storytelling. There's heart in the dialogue and the art.
WARNING: HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW
Dragons: A Compelling Mystery
The world of LiEat trilogy is intriguing, and Dragons form a good part of the lore. Dragons. What they are? and how they come to be are the biggest mysteries revealed throughout the trilogy.
In that universe, Dragons look like humans but they have wings and horns of various shapes More interestingly, there are other creatures with animal features in this world, but (other than a few exceptions like Vampires,) most of them are referred to as humans. Like Thom & Mars, the Dog-looking brothers guarding the hotel in the second entry.
“People walk on two legs and talk. Everything else is animals… The only creatures that look Human but aren’t called it these days are Dragons.“ --- Hal
Dragons appear as Eggs in front of humans. They hatch and grow through interacting with humanity. Most Dragons are born with special powers. Though no one knows why Dragon Eggs appear nor the source of their powers.
LiEat reveals the mystery of the Dragons a bit by bit in each entry. LiEat 1 introduces the characters. The con-artist Leo, (real name: Theobald,) and his self-proclaimed daughter, are traveling to towns to gather and sell information. In this entry, it was revealed that Efi appeared as an egg in front of Theo one day.
Efina's powers manifests people’s lies and gives them monster-like forms. Then she can eat them.
She can give truth a form too, but they taste “gross” for her and she won’t eat it. Putting out her horns and wing wears her out. For some reason, at that point in her life, she can't manifest Leo's lies.
The immortal dragon Neil and the shadow dragon Brett first appear in this entry too. They reveal a bit about themselves in each LiEat game, and by the end, the picture of their lives becomes whole.
Neil is wise and collected as he lived for many years. Brett’s distrust for humans makes sense when you consider he was born to a criminal, and watched many fellow dragons being sold as slaves due to their powers.
LiEat 2 reveals that dragons come from wishes. Hal (previously known as Leo,) and Efi lodge in a hotel. They meet Will, the Dream eating Dragon, the manager of the hotel, and the workers there.
As she meets a few people who were consumed by lies. Efina feels sad she can’t manifest Hal’s lies because lies could consume him if left like that.
It’s revealed that Will was born with his Dream eating ability as a fulfillment to his mother’s wish. Sofia, (the human woman to whom his egg appeared,) is an ex-executioner who wishes desperately to forget the nightmares. She cares a lot about Will as a mother her son.
The third entry confirmed that Dragons are born from people’s desperate wishes.
Neil was born to a woman who lost every friend she had on duty and wished for a friend who will never leave her. Brett assumes that his master's wish was to commit crimes without being noticed. Will was born from Sofia’s wish for her nightmares to stop… Efi was born from a wish too. What did Theo wish for?
Lies & The Wish of Theo
LiEat III is all about Theobald’s backstory, and Efina’s purpose. It confirms everything the author has foreshadowed in the previous LiEat entries.
The duo end up in Theobald’s hometown. Sid (previously called: Hal) and Efi investigate a Phantom Thief who plans to raid the party and steal a treasure.
This entry is full of confirmations for what the previous two entries foreshadowed. It starts with a glimpse on Theo’s past and his old group of friends, which works brilliantly as these same friends form the Phantom Thief's group.
The conflict however, isn’t against them as the main antagonist of this game is actually Theo’s lies that he continued to build-up all his life.
It’s revealed that Theo didn’t abandon his friends out of hatred but for their own safety. He made a deal with a criminal organization to keep them from attacking his friends, but he couldn’t break away from that group. Theo he needed to change his name and appearance all the time, piling lies on top of each other, to prevent the organization from finding him.
Theo was desperate. The lies he told his friends will never go away. With that wish, probably, Efina was born.
”But things as dirty as lies can’t be how you help people. They’re only used as messy means to cover things you want to hide. People leave you and hate you. Because you did that yourself. You reap what you sow.“– Theobald Leonhart.
There’s a lot of interesting details hidden in the dialogue. The new Dragon investigator introduced in this entry: Iris, is fun! Her power of analysis tells a lot about each character she meets. A character you can never get away with lying to. Perfect for the game’s themes.
It’s revealed that one of the maids in the mansion is part of a criminal organization. The organization’s symbol is printed on her hand. A detail that can easily be missed, is that Sid (Theo) has the same mark on his hand, and nowhere in the game, it says that Theo was an ex-member of the same organization of the maid.
Another detail I loved from LiEat III is the normal ending. In which Efina dies! Foreshadowed by a conversation with Neil and Brett: “Dragons can still die.”
“Dragons may be made of sturdier stuff than humans, but they can still die. It’s only our lifespans that are roughly double.” – Neil.
“Many child Dragons end up losing their lives by going rampant and using too much power.” – Brett
I love how easy to get this ending compared to the true ending, because it shows a perspective on Efina you wouldn’t see otherwise. Efi was born to save Theo from his lies.
In the bad ending she fails to do so. In the normal ending, she succeeds, but at the cost of her life. In the true ending, Efi is finally strong enough to save Theo and his friends from the lies between them, and to continue her journey with him with a new purpose in life.
What do you think?
What I love the most about this trilogy, is that in its 3/4 hours run, it manages to have a whole novel’s worth of development. Every line said by every character adds to characterization and lore. The fact I got the Nintendo Switch version, and I’m still thinking about this game says a lot about the heart put into it.
I’m sure LiEat will remain one of my favorite indie RPGs for a long time, and I hope to create something as beloved to other people as these characters to me, despite their simplicity.
- All screenshots are taken with a Switch Lite by me.
- This post is also on Read.cash with Different Screenshots.