In recent years the idea of what is and is not a game has changed a lot. While we always had games that tried to be experienced, even in the early ‘90s, the ability to charge less and easier ways to publish has opened a number of doors. Some choose to explore weird worlds, others create vibrant experiences and a few just trying to be weird for the sake of it. Lost Ember wants to make a world you want to explore and an experience worth finishing. This isn’t terribly unique but with a lush atmosphere and so much else going on, is it worth playing or is it more art than anything else? Here’s our Lost Ember Review.
The core concept behind Lost Ember is reasonably simple. You’re a wolf guided by a light, that wants to find the city of light, a place that is something of an afterlife. Shortly into your quest, you find out the wolf is actually a bandit who did some bad things in the past. This should prevent them from going to the city, though the two decide to work together to find it.
Most of the adventure comes down to experiencing new things and uncovering various secrets. Story sections are broken up by large fields that you can explore as a wolf or through a number of different animals. Each one offers its own unique mechanics, oftentimes required to progress to the next section, giving the gameplay a varied feel.
For instance, there is a duck that can glide, a hummingbird that flies, another animal that can roll and so forth. One nice touch is each certain animals have other colors and designs, allowing you to pick the one you want. It’s also possible to take control of ducklings and other less functional animals for the sake of it. Just playing as a baby duck in the water doing nothing has its own charm.
Where things get interesting is exploring the world. With vibrant fields and lush forests, it is the type of game where even if you’re not progressing, it’s nice to look at. At times this can be held back by the linear nature, though there is still a fair amount to see. It also helps that there is very little to do besides explore what makes each animal unique and move from destination to destination. This relaxing nature is great, except for some other shortcomings.
Certain animals have rather dodgy controls and can sometimes be more frustrating than they’re worth. I found rolling to be a literal uphill battle and sometimes moving a certain way caused issues. Quick progression also seemed to trigger performance issues. There were times Lost Ember would stop for seconds at a time or there would be noticeable issues with the frame rate. Given how simple the overall experience is, it can take you out of the moment and in some cases make little to no sense besides it possibly being by an intense loading location.
Lost Ember Review – Verdict
Still, Lost Ember is a cute game that has a fair amount of variety. As long as you go in looking to play as cute animals and explore you’ll have fun. Those looking for a deeper or more complicated experience will likely be disappointed, though even looking at the backgrounds can be relaxing. Toss in some performance issues and Lost Ember is fun and in some cases interesting but likely not something that will appeal to most people.
[Editor’s Note: Lost Ember was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]