Lil' Guardsman Review

In the charming and self-aware world of "Lil' Guardsman" by Hilltop, players embark on an enchanting journey as Lil, a 12-year-old gate guard with a knack for making impactful decisions. The game's seamless blend of humour, strategy, and time-travel mechanics crafts an engaging narrative that captivates players from start to finish.


"Lil' Guardsman" introduces a deceptively simple yet engaging core mechanic that evolves as the story progresses. The limited action points system forces players to think strategically, mirroring the challenges faced by Lil as she guards the gate. The Guardsman toolkit, featuring the Decoder Ring, X-Ray, Truth Spray, and Metal Detector, adds layers of complexity, encouraging players to experiment and adapt their approach.

One notable element is the Chronometer3000, an experimental time-travel device gifted to Lil. This unique gadget allows players to rewind time, replay interrogations, and make more informed decisions. While the Chronometer3000 adds a fascinating dynamic, prolonged use has consequences, emphasizing the game's commitment to impactful choices.

The grading system at the end of each day adds a layer of replayability, motivating players to refine their decision-making skills for higher ratings. Whether it's admitting, denying, or jailing potential visitors, every choice contributes to Lil's journey and the fate of the Sprawl.

Story and Characters:

At the heart of "Lil' Guardsman" lies a narrative filled with humour, intrigue, and unexpected twists. Lil's relationships, particularly with her father Hamish, are central to the game's emotional core. The quirky characters, such as Lieutenant Meg Stryker, Councilwoman Isadora Ashe, and the mysterious Jester Malcolm, enhance the narrative depth.

The interactions with the three royal advisors provide unique insights, adding a layer of complexity to decision-making. Each advisor brings a distinct perspective, forcing players to consider various angles before making critical choices. The game's commitment to character development ensures that every encounter contributes to the overall richness of the story.

The Royal Writ, offering information about ongoing events, enhances the immersive storytelling experience. It acts as a dynamic element that aligns the player with the ever-changing narrative landscape, making each decision feel consequential.

Graphics and Sound:

"Lil' Guardsman" visually impresses with its hand-drawn cartoon art style. The vibrant colours and detailed character designs contribute to the game's whimsical atmosphere. The animation sequences, though simple, effectively convey the emotions and reactions of the characters.

The fully voiced cast of Toronto-based actors elevates the gaming experience. Their performances breathe life into the characters, adding an extra layer of immersion. Scott Christian's soundtrack, blending medieval and classical influences with electronic and low-fi, complements the game's tone, enhancing the overall ambiance.

Innovative Features:

"Lil' Guardsman" distinguishes itself with innovative features enhancing gameplay and storytelling. The Guardsman toolkit, with its array of tools, encourages experimentation and strategic thinking. The game's dynamic nature, where decisions impact characters and the world, aligns with the overarching goal of subverting the typical power fantasy.

The inclusion of the Chronometer3000 is a masterstroke. It provides a gameplay mechanism for time travel and ties into the narrative, emphasizing the consequences of tampering with time. The unpredictability of the Chronometer3000 adds a layer of tension and excitement to Lil's journey.

Final Verdict: 9/10 - A Delightful Blend of Comedy and Strategy

"Lil' Guardsman" succeeds in creating a captivating narrative puzzle game that seamlessly integrates humour and strategy. Its commitment to subverting traditional power fantasies and impactful decision-making and time-travel mechanics makes it a standout title. With engaging characters, a visually appealing art style, and an original soundtrack, Hilltop's creation offers a delightful gaming experience.

As you step into Lil's shoes, navigating the complexities of gatekeeping and diplomacy, be prepared for a journey beyond the surface, providing depth and replayability. "Lil' Guardsman" is set to leave a lasting impression on players, beckoning them to explore the enchanting world it has meticulously crafted.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in the whimsical world of Lil' Guardsman, Available NOW on Steam, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox Series.

Lil’ Guardsman on Steam
Imagine you’re a 12 year old, suddenly in charge of the guard shed at the castle gate, where you decide if elves, goblins and 100+ other characters should be admitted. It’s a wonderful combination of deduction, narrative and puzzle games.