In 2018, a casual match-three puzzle game called Lily’s Garden made its way to the platform. Like most titles under the match-three category, the game comes with the basic match-three puzzle elements and management/building activities. In other words, the game is a basic match-three puzzle game with basic features and elements. Nevertheless, the game had a secret weapon that caught the attention of some of the most iconic personalities in video games; that weapon comes in the form of episodic ads.
The Twisted Plot
Lily’s Garden for starters comes with a basic plot that follows a down-on-her-luck accountant named Lily. The game begins with a short introduction showing the series of unfortunate events experienced by our protagonist. After accidentally breaking her glasses and phone with the keys to her apartment falling down the sewers, Lily received a letter informing her of the recent passing of her aunt. The good news is that Lily’s aunt left her whole fortune and estate to her. Lily then moved to the countryside where she meets other characters like her neighbor Luke, a carpenter named Regina, an ancient lawyer named Philip, etc.
As far as the in-game narrative goes, Lily’s Garden is a wholesome match-three puzzle focused on rebuilding a torn-down estate. NPCs and our main protagonists engage in small talks focused on the plethora of tasks in the game. In other words, it’s a basic game with a basic narrative, until the ads begin popping up.
The Spicy Ads
One element that made Lily’s Garden unique from other match-three puzzles is the brilliant implementation of ads. You see, Lily’s Garden is a game with an “All Ages” content rating, and casual games, in general, boast a whopping 78% download share on its platform. Unless the game is a sequel, a new installment in an existing franchise, a remake, or a spinoff of an established brand, the likelihood of a casual puzzle game receiving an audience is slim, to say the least.
Now, a generic game like Lily’s Garden will have to rely on promotion to reach the proper audience. As per a study published by PubMed.Gov, most adults 18-80 years old prefer casual games among other genres. So, the big question is how to reach or get the attention of mature audiences without losing the “All Ages or Ages 3 and up” rating?
So, this is where the spicy ads come into play. Unlike Gardenscapes and Homescapes whose misleading and irrelevant ads got banned, the ads for Lily’s Garden evolved into an episodic soap opera/drama embraced by the gaming community. Instead of showing off the gameplay mechanics and in-game footage, the ads for Lily’s Garden showcased the spicier side of the game’s plot.
The ingenious execution of ads allowed Lily’s Garden to maintain its wholesome gameplay structure and get the attention of adults. The ads for Lily’s Garden have been rolling out since 2017 detailing all the outtakes and naughty events that took place in Lily’s life since she moved into the countryside. The YouTube channel of TygoSaurus made a 30-minute compilation of all Lily’s Garden ads making it look like a montage of Lily’s life. In addition, PewdiePie also made an entire video about the ads.
The Saga Continues
As everyone would have guessed, one of the biggest and most popular genres on the platform is casual. After all, casual video games require less memory space, fewer control buttons, and often come with a less complicated plot or narrative. The popularity of casual games led to the surge of new titles each year, which, for the most part, transformed the casual gaming genre into one of the most saturated genres as well. With that in mind, a game must have unique qualities for it to get attention in the ever-growing library packed with puzzles, arcades, incremental, hidden objects, etc.
As a new title, Lily’s Garden needs to create an effective campaign to reel in players. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay of the puzzle is solid, while the audio-visual quality is decent. In short, Lily’s Garden is a AAA puzzle that’s worth playing. Nevertheless, without the cheesy and spicy ads, the game will not be as popular as it is today. The ads for Lily’s Garden may not feature the main gameplay but they provide players a sneak peek into the event that takes place behind the curtain.
In a nutshell, the ads for Lily’s Garden did more than just get the attention of the audience but also developed a relatable connection. The wacky, hilarious, and sometimes naughty shorts made Lily more of a relatable character. Although some of the ads are overrated and sometimes exaggerated, they successfully provided a sense of transparency that somehow satisfies the audience’s curiosity. Making it a saga anticipated by many players.
The Game of Life
The ad collection of Lily’s Garden is a story about life, which just like the game itself, comes with many challenges. Losing a level costs a heart and sometimes there are challenging levels in the game that will deplete all your hearts. Just like Lily’s misfortunes depicted in the ads, players have the choice to stand up and start again another day or quit the challenge or the game itself. Either way, the decision of standing up to the challenge and not quitting is the message the ads want to suggest.
Just like playing Lily’s Garden, we do not always win each level, we run out of hearts, and we do not always get what we want. Nevertheless, just like the title for the final mission for the day, we always thrive to begin a new day and continue to face up to the challenges the game of life throws our way.