Growing up is a time of discovery – for better or for worse. Teens try to figure out who they are as they grapple with the complexities and harsher realities of life. Lost Words: Beyond The Page delves into this confusing time by interacting with a young girl’s diary as she realizes her dream of becoming a writer. They see two sides of her life: the story that comes to life in her imagination and personalized entries that show her feelings when she faces her own needs. The two begin to intertwine in interesting ways, leading to an emotional story of acceptance, perseverance, and growing up that has seen me foggy eyes more than once. Lost Words: Beyond The Page is well worth the experience for this reason, but you have to grapple with some flaws to get to the beauty.
In Lost Words, the narrator Izzy struggles to write her first story. We gain insight into the frustrations and challenges through her journal in which she reveals what is going on in her personal life. The experience focuses heavily on atmosphere and narrative, right down to choosing certain aspects of Izzy’s story, such as the character’s name and clothing, and choosing the words to convey their emotions. You make your way through words as she writes them in her diary, and you interact with the fantastic world she creates by selecting words from your diary and moving your cursor over obstacles such as “getting up” to Raise platforms.
Because words are so important, a strong narrative is essential. Thanks to the efforts of writer Rhianna Pratchett who worked on Heavenly Sword and the Tomb Raider restart, the narrative is surely the best part of the game. Izzy’s journey is accessible to anyone who has had to find their way around. Like any young person, she struggles with her self-esteem and confidence in her own abilities, but what resonates most is her feelings when she experiences an unpredictable tragedy that prompts her to examine the darker parts of life. I won’t spoil anything, but I’ll say that lost words can be a punch in the stomach; I felt so much for Izzy as I saw her turn into depression and struggle to accept the events that were going on around her.
Overall, I liked the main story and its message, but it plays out pretty predictably and occasionally overdoes it in the motivational speech section. However, aside from the slow start of the main narrative, the way the game mechanics tell Izzy’s story is very nice. A few scenes will always stay with me, for example when Izzy is given the opportunity to use the word “ignore” to get past crowds, which symbolizes that she is excluding others. Unfortunately, these great moments don’t happen regularly enough, forcing you to put up with boring gameplay. It doesn’t help that the environments in the fantastic world are barren, almost flawless, and not very interesting to explore. Even navigating these rooms with their various challenges and obstacles quickly becomes boring, as the mechanics rarely change or evolve enough to be satisfactory or to offer a challenge. For example, I loved when the word “ascent” turned into a new game mechanic when I was able to go underwater, but that was the only time I felt like playing with the words that were given to you Were available, doing something interesting.
I haven’t even addressed another problem: the tricky controls. They often move words around the screen to create an additional jumping platform or to interact with objects. However, this process is inconvenient. Sometimes it is difficult to get things right and the controls are not responding as quickly as they should be. For example, I’ve noticed a delayed response with some actions, such as: B. when using the word “break” to split a branch. I also encountered some technical issues with slow load times, disappeared objects, and frame rate chugging. These glitches don’t happen regularly enough to be overly frustrating, but I hope future patches will straighten things out.
Lost Words: Beyond The Page affected me more than most games, but it’s not always tempting to play. In the end, the touching story wins out over the mistakes, but be prepared for an inconsistent experience. Sometimes I would nod off and go through another boring platform sequence. For others, I had to turn to the next page of Izzy’s journal to make sure she was okay. Lost Words: Beyond The Page is an interesting way to tell an interactive story and venture into areas not often explored in video games, and I’m glad it exists despite its shortcomings.