There are many theories about what happens to us after we die with respect to where we end up. This destination is believed to be based on how you lived your own life and handled others in the process. But what is not nearly discussed is that the journey you choose between death and arriving at your final destination. Mooneye Games Studio has produced an experience that explores this topic in their new sport, Lost Ember. Take a journey to the afterlife, your afterlife, as a wolf with the capacity to transform into the other critters of the forest as you explore a beautiful abandoned world and detect the final destiny of humanity.
In Lost Ember, the wolf form is your principal vessel you’ll inhabit so as to go to the afterlife at the City of Light. As you play, you will find that you used to be a person that was beloved by many, however, the memory of your death for some reason escapes you. Do not fret, however, as you’re soon accompanied by another soul that is also attempting to make his way into the City of Light. You can play the game with no narration if you choose, that way you need to rely solely on the visual cues in order to progress, but I would suggest playing with narration the first time you play with so that you are receiving the entire story as it is amazingly well written and incredibly intriguing.
Much of the narrative is told through the use of memories, or echos of the past, that you will come across as you make your way to the City of Light. These echos will demonstrate a scene from a pivotal event in your life and will assist in piecing together where all the folks have gone. The story is written as a tiny puzzle as to your fate and the fate of everyone else. I found myself needing to get to the next point in the story just so I could find out exactly what happened next. There were a few plot points that might have been left out or combined to create a more cohesive experience but overall I had been able to follow what was going on.
The gameplay is very simple and does not take a whole lot of brainpower to become accustomed to. Since the wolf, then you can walk or run your way through the surroundings. Invariably, you will come across other animals of which you will need their unique abilities so as to progress through the level. As an example, you may come to a place where the wolf is no more able to proceed further because you have come to the side of a sheer cliff. The wolf is ill-equipped to climb up a cliff but there’s a bird that you can walk up to, assume its own form, and then fly up and over that cliff and continue on your trip. Environmental puzzles such as this are built into the sport in a way that feels natural and takes advantage of many different types of animals making for multiple ways to traverse the varying terrains.
The visuals at Lost Ember are magnificent on both the console and when attached to the tv. I truly couldn’t find one criticism. The environments are vivid and bright and use light and shadow. The views are sweeping and also you can see far out into the distance, which was quite unexpected to me for an indy game of this type. The creature layouts do leave a bit to be desired and it’s quite clear where development focused its time when constructing this match. In general, however, I believe it looks amazing and the actual star of this series here is certainly the reclaimed-by-nature game-world.
The sound design of the game is also a crowning achievement for this small studio out of Berlin and Hamburg. Ambient sounds create the world feel alive, like it has been totally reclaimed by nature with all the wind blowing through the trees, birds singing in the treetops along with the piercing howl of the wolf because it conveys throughout the lively air. The audio is haunting and sometimes uplifting and inspirational. The narration can be very spot on the voice of the narrator is calming and strangely comforting. All these elements combine to create an experience unlike anything I have played in quite a while and it was a welcomed diversion from the turmoil of this season.
When there are some things that this game does well, it does have its blemishes that will reveal themselves in due time. My specific issue happened as I was exploring a particularly deep sea in an early part of the game. To my surprise, the game includes a nice number of unique creatures that have different skills, but if you make the wrong choice of animal and wander into a place of the game that is not compatible with that creature, you are stuck.
There are lots of forms of birds from the sport and the duck is one that can only fly so high over the ground. I flew down into a deep canyon and could not fly back up to the most important area of the game. My only option at the point was to restart back into a previous checkpoint and try again. Luckily, the game does a great job of having lots of save spots so that I didn’t need to start over a lot back.
If you are trying to find a game that’s high octane and balls-to-the-wall excitement, this ai not it, playa. This really is a laid-back experience when you’re looking for something to simply relax and not have to think too much of what it is you do. In fact, there aren’t any bullets at all. You are running around in lush surroundings while enjoying the views and being dragged along to an engaging and philosophical narrative about the choices that you must make in life and that which comes next.
Lost Ember tries to become an artistic experience, nevertheless struggles to be an enjoyable game. The narrative is dull and predictable, the gameplay is dull and at times frustrating, and the huge performance issues on Switch make this game near unplayable occasionally. Even though it is clearly possible, Lost Ember neglects to deliver on nearly every front. There are loads of other artsy games on Switch to pick up within this one.
Lost Ember is a great narrative adventure that functions as a superb game to play within an evening. It is ultimately something that holds this version back since the visuals are a key feature of what makes this such a memorable game. Ultimately, Missing Ember is a game you should play, but maybe not on the Switch.