- Developer : Crim
- Publisher : NIS America
- Release Date : June 22, 2018
- Review code provided by NIS America
- Price: £49.99/ $49.99
The Lost Child has one of the most bizarre yet captivating openings in any video game I’ve played this year. You step into the shoes of a young journalist named Hayato Ibuki who is investigating mysterious suicides that have been occurring at the Shinjuku subway station. It is during these opening moments that someone pushed him in front of a train only to be saved at the last minute by a women in purple who hands him a suitcase. Then an angel named Lua turns up. Still following? Welcome to the odd yet interesting world of The Lost Child, published by NIS America, for the Nintendo Switch that can only be best described as a truly strange dungeon crawler.
After the odd opening 30 minutes or so players will get a bit more grounding within the world as they are told that there is a battle between Heaven and Hell raging and they are the Chosen One. Well, Hayato is and Lua is going to help however she can. This is made possible thanks to the suitcase which contains a gun called the Gangour which empowers the player by allowing them to capture, train and use the demons they encounter in battle. You see, The Lost Child is broken into two main gameplay segments. You have the investigating gameplay that feels more like a visual novel and then the dungeon crawling, complete with turn-based battles.
The former of these two is fairly straightforward. You head to a location, talk to people, interact with objects and gather up the needed information to progress the story forward. It’s engaging enough but unless you are invested in the story they might feel a bit weightless in comparison to the more gameplay rich dungeon sections. That said, there is still plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat as you meet unique and odd characters that each have something unsettling about them.
When you dive into the dungeons you can expect a familiar experience to almost any other title. You move through the different layers finding loot, unlocking doors and battling through plenty of fights. As mentioned though you use your new demon friends in these fights as a means to bulk up your power. Which you use and how you develop them is up to you and the range of options is refreshing that you’ll be able to spend plenty of time here.
One element of the combat that is really unique though is a system that tells the player who in their party is most likely to be attacked in the next round of combat. This means you can think ahead and plan accordingly getting a visual heads-up of who might be about to take serious damage. It’s not a guaranteed system but it does help reduce some of the frustration of other turn based battle systems but giving you that little bit extra information.
In the presentation department things remain a bit of a mixed bag. The 2D artwork is superb with detailed character art and backgrounds throughout with a clear attention to detail. The 3D environments however are dull and disappointing with washed out colours throughout. Thankfully the performance of the title is fairly good with short loading times and plenty of options to determine the speed of text and gameplay should you feel it is to slow or to fast.
As for the audio, the soundtrack and voice acting is strong and help to immerse you within the experience but I did notice from time to time that the music would just stop playing all together until I moved to the next scene or battle. This was the only ‘bug’ i encountered during my time with the title though which is reassuring as otherwise it runs smoothly throughout.
At the end of the day, The Lost Child is a mixed bag of an experience. It has an interesting, if somewhat bizarre, narrative with some engaging gameplay but also suffers from dull visuals. You might jump into this expecting a familiar dungeon crawler experience but be prepared for something a bit different. If you can get invested in the story and the characters then you’ll find plenty to enjoy but if not, you might have trouble seeing it through.
Not for everyone, but will appeal
to the most die hard fans of the genre