Lost Words: Beyond the Page is a beautiful platform puzzle that explores feelings of loss, told through the imagination of a young girl.
Lost words: beyond the page is a puzzle-platform developed by Sketchbook Games, Fourth Slate and Fourth Slate Limited, and published by Modus Games. Lost words tells a beautifully written story wrapped around an entertaining gameplay loop that exists to continue to push the player forward through the story.
The story of Lost words follows a young girl named Izzy, who decides to start filling out a journal in the hopes of one day becoming a writer. Izzy creates a character (the player can choose multiple names, but she will be called Grace from this point on), who is a girl residing in a fantasy realm. Lost words takes place in two contexts, with the girl controlling her imaginary avatar in both. In the journal sections of the game, the player uses the words written in the journal as platforms and can influence parts of the page to solve simple puzzles. These segments of the game include absolutely stunning watercolor visuals, depicting memories of Izzy’s past.
These segments of Lost words: beyond the page are fully narrated and the vocal work is top notch, which helps form an emotional attachment to Izzy’s story. Writing in Lost words (created by Rhianna Pratchett, lead author of Grave robber and Rise of the Tomb Raider) is also stellar. It’s hard to say too much about the content of the story without spoiling the experience, especially since the game only lasts a few hours. In short, Lost pages begins as a whimsical story about a young girl’s relationship with her grandmother, only to take a dark turn, her fantasy world changing accordingly.
The other sections of the game involve the story told by Izzy, where the player controls Grace as she explores various fantastic stages, such as deserts and underwater cities. These games use 3D visuals to emulate a 2D art style, and they don’t appear as much as the graphics in the game’s log sections. Grace is a firefly keeper, which means she has her own magical firefly protector. . The player controls Grace with the left stick and the firefly with the right stick. The goal of each stage is to guide Grace to the end while clearing obstacles with the firefly.
As the story progresses, Grace finds magic words that can be summoned at any time. These are guided with the firefly to solve puzzles, such as using the word “Break” to destroy barriers and “Repair” to repair broken bridges. The puzzles in the game are quite basic, most of them consisting of trying different words on a single obstacle. This is a great video game concept that could easily form the basis for a more fleshed out experience, but in Lost words, these puzzles are only temporary distractions, almost as if to remind everyone that they are living a video game.
The story of Lost words manages to be sad and beautiful at the same time. The game only takes a few hours to complete and it’s never particularly difficult, but that’s because there is a way to tell its story. The production of the game is exceptional in terms of audio and visuals, and the brief glimpse players get into Izzy’s life is memorable. It falls into the niche of the short indie puzzle game that aims to hit the heartstrings, and it manages to tell a gripping story about dealing with grief while using video game media to keep players hooked along the way.
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Lost words: beyond the page will be released on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 6, 2021 and is currently available on Google Stadia. Screen Rant has been given a digital code for the Switch version of the game for the purpose of this review.
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