When I first saw the trailer for Lost in Play, I knew I was on to a winner. The charming cartoon style combined with an imaginative story and simple gameplay was right up my street. So when the publisher offered me a key to review this game, I was only too happy to accept. This is a casual indie adventure title with point-and-click style gameplay. There are also lots of puzzles to solve, one of the features that drew me to it in the first place. In this Lost in Play review for Nintendo Switch, I’ll go through everything you need to know about this game.
I’ve played plenty of similar games over the years as it’s not an overly unique concept. However, the execution is what sets it apart. The difference between a good adventure puzzle game and a bad one is attention to detail. You can really tell when a developer has put the extra effort into making their game great. Fortunately, with Lost in Play, it’s clear they’ve thought everything through. The result is a well-rounded game that fits right in with its genre.
I absolutely love how Lost in Play captures the joy and imagination of childhood. Everything in this game hinges on creativity. One of my favourite things is how it blurs the line between fiction and reality. As the game is told through the perspective of the children, we have a case of an unreliable narrator. In fact, we’re even shown that what we see in the game isn’t always what’s actually happening in the world the game is setting. One of the first levels involves the brother being chased by a giant bear, but when you defeat the bear, it’s revealed that it was just his sister wearing a mask.
The story is peak fantasy. It features magical frogs, goblins, underwater worlds, and even other dimensions. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect children to daydream about. I also like that we switch between playing as the sister and the brother. Each one has a unique story to tell, and I love the dynamic of the two of them together. The cutscenes are used creatively to progress the story, such as when they’re seen travelling over an ocean.
One of the final levels really reminds me of The Neverending Story, and I don’t think that’s an accident. Essentially, they have to make an impossibly long journey across a deserted part of the land, but are helped by a magical creature who takes them most of the way. They then meet an eccentric old couple who are tinkering with gadgets, and who assist them in finding an archway which is guarded on either side by stone creatures. The parallels are striking.
Although it’s technically not a point-and-click adventure as you do move your character through the world rather than just your cursor, the gameplay itself is practically identical. I used to play tons of point-and-click games in my youth as they were pretty much the only ones not blocked by my school’s internet. It was really nice to return to this genre, as it had been several years since I’d played something like this. Each level contains plenty of items you can interact with. It’s clear when you can, as a hand icon appears on screen. I like that not everything is relevant to progression, so you have to think hard about what to interact with.
Sometimes you can pick an item up and store it in your inventory. You’ll then be able to select it and use it in conjunction with something else in your environment. One issue I have with this is that even when you have the right item in your inventory, you have to manually select it before interacting with the world. It’s an unnecessary hassle, as in my mind it’s usually obvious which objects go together. Not to mention that you could just try every object until you found the right one.
The movement in this game is pretty solid. You move on a 2D plane, although you’ll occasionally encounter ladders. You can’t jump though, so I don’t consider the ladders as making it 3D. Lost in Play also allows you to use unlimited hints if you get stuck. This is a fantastic accessibility measure. When you do use a hint, the screen will show a short animation of what to do next.
Probably the best part of Lost in Play are the puzzles you encounter throughout. Sometimes these are required in order to access a particular object. Other times, they’re used as transitional elements between levels. At first I felt that the puzzles were too easy, thus making the game boring, but that quickly changed. It does ease you into it for the first couple of levels, but after that it becomes decidedly trickier. Some of them get really challenging, and I love that.
The sheer variety of puzzles and mini-games is so impressive. Not only do they have different themes to match the levels, but the mechanics are also totally different. Each one is unique, and nothing like the last. They also require different areas of your brain, and so will appeal to different kinds of players. What one person finds easy might be difficult for someone else, and vice versa. This creates excellent balance throughout the game.
If you don’t like puzzles then Lost in Play is not for you. They’re a huge part of the gameplay, and even if point-and-click adventures are your favourite thing in the world, I can’t see you enjoying this title if puzzles aren’t your thing. Fortunately, I really enjoy challenging my brain, and so I was thrilled with how prevalent they were. Many of them required abstract thinking and had several layers of complexity. You could also use a hint during them if you got stuck. My favourite puzzle was probably the time travel puzzle where you flicked back and forth through a book, manipulating the pages as you went.
Audio and Visuals
The music for Lost in Play is hella catchy. There are clicking noises, and acapella style harmonies. It’s whimsical and quirky, which perfectly matches the atmosphere of this game. It’s peaceful, but not monotonous. You can tell that the developers really thought through the music choices very carefully. Each level has a different soundtrack, so you find yourself really immersed as it’s an entire experience. The sounds and the visuals combine together to craft a seamless adventure through your senses.
I’m not entirely sure whether this game used voice actors, or just sound effects. You see, the characters did not speak English. In fact, they didn’t speak any real language as far as I can tell. It seemed to be made up gobbledegook, but it had a really nice tune to it. I liked listening to the characters speak, even though I couldn’t understand them. Thankfully, the dialogue was written in speech boxes, so I could still read what they were saying.
The graphics were simple but effective. One thing you just accept when playing an indie game is that the graphics are not going to be mind-blowingly detailed. In fact, some of the worst indies I’ve played were ones where they tried too hard to attempt a fancy art-style, and failed miserably. Keeping it simple allows developers to focus on the quality, so I have no complaints whatsoever. I also think the thin lines result in rather cute expressions, and I find myself drawn to the characters. The levels themselves also look beautiful in their own way.
I went a bit overboard when taking screenshots to accompany this review, so I wanted to share some of my favourite ones!
Overall, I was really impressed with this game. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my Lost in Play review for Nintendo Switch, and you feel like you can make a decision on whether to play it yourself. Personally, I was delighted by the range of puzzles, and the enjoyability of the levels. The whole thing is about 3-4 hours long, so relatively short. You could easily play it in a day or two, so it’s not a big time commitment. It’s also a well-rounded experience, and it’ll keep you entertained. The only real downside is that the pacing is sometimes a bit off. You can’t run, and some levels are pretty wide, so this slows you down. It’s also sometimes difficult to figure out what to do next, although you do have hints for those situations. It’s definitely a fun game, though!
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