[Review] Lost Ember – Nintendo Switch

Written by Joachim Ziebs
  • Developer: Mooneye Studios
  • Publisher: Mooneye Studios
  • Release Date: 24/09/2020
  • Price: £24.99 / $29.99
  • Review code provided by: Mooneye Studios
  • Version reviewed: 1.0.2

Introducing: Lost Ember Switch Review

It usually takes game developers some time to port their games to Switch, but when they finally do, you’re in for a treat. Lost Ember has already been available on other systems before but now makes it’s lavish debut on our favourite console.

Lost Ember tells the story of a vanished human tribe by letting you discover memories and artefacts of one of its members. This member is no longer human, but a wolf with extraordinary powers assisted by a spirit guide. The story you’re about to experience is one of love, loyalty, betrayal and loss. It’s beautifully told by showing you the memories and remnants of this fallen civilisation. For Lost Ember is a short game, you can rush through it in under ten hours if you want to, I’ll not go into details here. This review tries to stay spoiler free.

Off through the new day’s mist I run

The beginning of the game sees you controlling a wolf and meeting a spirit. The spirit declares itself your guardian spirit and tells you that it will help you and itself to reach the City of Light, the place were all your ancestors’ spirits went to. To get to the City of Light, you have to break through barriers which hold back your guardian. Uncover your memories from when you were human by exploring your surroundings, break the barrier and eventually advance to the next chapter. If you’re up to it, you can hunt down over 200 collectible items reaching from different relics that will deepen your understanding of the story but are not essential to it, to mushrooms which are scattered around the land. Progress like this through each of the six chapters and reach the end.

To help you on your way, use your ability to control other animals. Switch to a hedgehog and gain the ability to dig underground or let walls crumble giving you access to new parts of the different locations. Become a goldfish and swim through lakes, rivers and ponds to examine every nook and cranny. Use a hummingbird to dart through the sky. You need to use all animals available to you to uncover your memories, solve the connected puzzles and find the collectibles.

We shift pulsing with the earth

Let me just say this: The game looks awesome. It has a naturalistic but abstract artstyle. The colours are muted most of the time, but vibrant in some parts. This perfectly fits the story of your somber voyage of self-dicovery. The music ties in perfectly, too. It is reduced to soft and bittersweet guitar and piano tracks and used sparingly. Most of the time the sounds of nature are the only soundtrack on your trip: the howl of the wolf, the flutter of the hummingbird, the flow of water, you get the idea. The voice acting of your guardian is well done, too.

Roaming the land while you sleep

There are stones on every trip and Lost Ember has some of those as well. Performance is good, but there are framedrops in certain areas. The game has already been updated to iron them out and they aren’t a big deal in any case.

Conclusion

Lost Ember shows that you don’t need much to tell a gripping story. A few animals, a lot of memories and you’re done. It’s a well crafted world and a well told story.

PROS

  • Artstyle: colourful but with slightly muted colours
  • Accessibility setting helping those with motion sickness problems
  • Great world to explore

CONS

  • Some stutters while playing handheld and docked (but a day one patch is already on the way)
  • No map of any kind

Verdict
While Lost Ember is not a long game, it’s definitely a game that deserves your time. Rush through or 100% the game. It doesn’t matter, because it will leave you changed in the end.

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