Title: Lost Ember
Developer: Mooneye Studios
Release Date: September 24, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Mooneye Studios
Pacing in video games is typically handled by the developer, but sometimes it’s left up to the player on how they wish to speed up or slow down an adventure. Lost Ember does just that through its narrative set pieces, large explorable areas, and freedom given to the player. Now, the game has come to Nintendo Switch, but it may lack a little bit of the spark that makes this adventure grand.
Lost Ember has a pretty quick opening. We meet a Spirit who communicates with a Wolf to help it break free of these strange barriers. It’s a little too coincidental for my tastes only because the meeting was completely random, but the Wolf ends up playing a significant role in the entire game. This causes the themes to lean more into fate, but the narrative leaves little to the imagination as it explains everything through one-sided dialogue from the spirit.
The focus is heavily on the story throughout the entire five-hour adventure and through this, you’ll uncover more about Wolf’s previous life and the environment. There are some great moments of storytelling that occur as more is revealed. I’d say that the conclusion is fueled by an emotional climb to gather the last puzzle pieces for a satisfying climax.
Lost Ember has more adventure elements where players can run around the environments as a Wolf and take control of other animals to access areas. Each animal has a different ability that you’ll need to use in order to progress the narrative. I’d say this feature is incredibly fun and makes each new area unlocked feel new because you get to take control of a new animal.
The game seems to pride itself on its environments which are large open areas that act as a playground to those not wishing to progress. Players who explore around will find numerous collectibles. Some may require a specific animal to gather them, but this ultimately gives players something to do outside of just ingesting the narrative. I’d say it acts as a way for the player to pace the adventure to fit there needs since it’s not required to gather these items, but seeing a checkpoint to the left and a strange path to the right gives the player a choice.
Lost Ember is beautiful, but I don’t know if the Switch is the best way to experience that. All of the features are here such as how players can slow down time and stand on a cliff overlooking the landscape, but it’s very toned down. Edges are jagged and sometimes blurry and also sometimes just freezes for a second as if it’s loading a new area.
This ends up affecting this experience so much because it is such at artful and straightforward gaming experience. There isn’t much here outside of progressing the narrative and the developers spent a lot of time crafting these environments that players want to exist in. For me, I felt the Switch version removed a significant part about this game that makes it so endearing.
Lost Ember is a great narrative adventure that acts as a wonderful game to play over an evening. However, the Switch version lacks the beauty found in the other versions. It’s ultimately something that holds this version back because the visuals are a key feature of what makes this such a memorable game. Ultimately, Lost Ember is a game that you should play, but maybe not on the Switch.
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