By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on December 6, 2019
During last year's Gamescom, Ferry and I came across a booth where a game called Lost Ember was being shown to the public. I was really anxious to play this game, because I had already fallen in love with the game's cute animals and the beautiful world in which they lived. Somehow, Lost Ember immediately reminded me of games like Journey and N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscured, so naturally I wanted to play! Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time left in our busy schedule during Gamescom, but luckily I had the chance to exchange business cards with one of the developers. And this week I received an email that I was one of the lucky ones to review lost Ember, so here we go!
The game starts with an actual funeral. In this story, when someone dies he or she journeys to the City of Light and live on as a spirit called a Yanren. But if you, for some reason, did not follow the righteous path in life, you will return to Earth and your spirit becomes a wild animal. We meet both of these creatures during the prologue of the story. We'll meet a man who is ready to go to the City of Light but for some reason got lost. And we meet a wolf, the first animal who wants to help this Yanren. As they join forces, they also discover that the wolf is actually a lost spirit that isn't able to enter the City of Light, a so-called a Lost Ember.
The wolf and the Yanren will continue to journey together and who knows, maybe the Yanren can actually help this Lost Ember to enter the City of Light after all. Soon after that, you will discover that the wolf is actually is a soul Wanderer, or better said, the spirit that ended up in the wolf belonged to a soul wanderer. This means that if you concentrate real hard, your spirit can travel from one animal to another. This is really helpful in case you get stuck or your path gets blocked, one way or another.
During the prologue, I found my first additional animal form to play as. I don't know what it is exactly, it looks like a koala that lives on the ground or a beaver without a tail, or maybe a wombat? Anyway, it looks awfully cute and I want one! You can change back to your wolf at any time during the game. Changing to another animal, requires that animal to be in the actual vicinity of your current form. Try and hit the d-pad buttons from time to time, when you've found a new animal. Some animals have little things they can do like eating berries, lying down or diving for food. It's not something you can actually use during the game, but it looks cute and it is fun! You can find several animals to change into and even find legendary animals. And if you're really lucky you might even get the chance to find baby animals to transform into. Now that we're on the subject of finding things, I'd like to add that you should also keep an eye out for mushrooms and relics. You can collects these items during your travels and add them to your collections. This is harder than it seems actually. After my first play through I discovered that I didn't find all types of mushrooms, for example.
My lack of being able to focus on other things might have had something to do with the intense and touching story of Lost Ember. We follow the Yanren and the Wolf during their search to discover who they were in life and how the choices they made while living might have led them to their current predicament. As you can probably imagine, this will not be a journey filled with only happy memories either. The stories of both the wolf and the Yanren have their difficult moments and they discover that they might actually have more in common than they first thought. Plus, the world of Lost Ember is every bit as beautiful as its story. It's a realistic world, but at the same time, things seem to be just a bit more bright and colorful. And if you see Dandelions, please do yourself a favor and walk through them and watch all the fluff float away on the wind.
Alas, I can't tell you anything else about the game without spoiling things for you, so I won't. Why not? Well, because that will ruin the awesome experience there is to be had while playing Lost Ember. This game is an experience, trust me on that. And although you will mainly be walking around, watching memories and searching for items, it's a truly engaging and thoroughly moving game. I love this type of games, so for me Playing Lost ember was really a treat. This is one of those games that you play for its story which, I'm not afraid to say, moved me to tears more than once!
November 22, 2019