Game: Lost in Play
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows))
Developers | Publishers: Happy Juice Games | Joystick Ventures
Age Rating: US E10+ | EU 3+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: August 10th, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Press Engine & RENAISSANCE PR.
Lost in Play was one of the games featured in the last Wholesome Direct in June, and the game caught my eye. Finally, it has been released on Steam and Nintendo Switch. Let’s find out what it is about!
This point-and-click puzzle adventure game switches you between the fantasy land and the real world, where a young girl is trying hard to get the attention of her older brother.
The game starts with the girl asleep but having a dream. You’re shown the dream as the game’s opening titles roll, which I enjoyed as it’s different from the usual opening scenes we have seen in games before.
Then it moves back to a bedroom where both children are fast asleep. Finally, the girl wakes up and finds her brother still asleep. But, first, she must wake him up and then distract him from his Game Boy-like gaming device. To do both, you’ll need to scour around the house to find items that may come in handy.
Soon after, the girl, Gal, awakens her brother, Toto; they are off on a grand adventure in this imaginative role-playing game. You are transported to a land of magic, giants and monsters.
The children encounter magical and magnificent creatures such as a giant stork, magic seaweed, frogs and travelling goblins. In addition, you’ll be chased by a horned beast reminiscent of the Gruffalo from the children’s novels by Julia Donaldson. The children will need to overcome their fears, solve puzzles and stick together to find their way home.
Plenty of Puzzles
You’ll primarily be completing environmental puzzles by interacting with the environment around you. For example, you’ll look for switch handles, help frogs pull a sword from a stone and collect items to complete the puzzles.
Happy Juice Games, developers of Lost in Play, have excluded spoken/written words to make the game as inclusive as possible. Instead, all the characters use actions and visuals to communicate instructions, along with “can’t do this” noises from Gal and Toto.
No Text or Speech
For the most part, the no text or speech approach works well. But when it comes to puzzle solving, there could be a little more help given to the player.
While playing the game, most of the puzzles didn’t give me many problems. However, if you do get stuck, you can use a hint where you are shown an image. That might be all you need to help solve the puzzle.
Need a Hint
However, when I got stuck on a puzzle, sometimes the hint of an image didn’t help much as it can be a little vague. For example, there was one puzzle early on in the game, where you play a game similar to draughts or checkers. I spent far too long trying to solve it, and in the end, all of a sudden, the puzzle just clicked together, and it was solved.
At one stage, I thought the game should be called Lost in a Puzzle, as coming to a halt on a puzzle and not being able to proceed for a while, proved frustrating and sucked the fun I was having out of the game.
Visuals and Controls
The real draw of Lost in Play for me is its art style. It’s simply beautiful, it looks like hand-drawn animation. It’s hard not to fall in love with the brother and sister duo, Toto and Gal, instantly, and the world around them has been created with so much loving detail.
For instance, the weird and wonderful creatures you come across in the more fantastical settings look like something snatched from a children’s cartoon, all filled with their unique personalities. The soundtrack, too, is lovely, perfectly accompanying the action on-screen.
Lost in Play is controlled by the joy-cons on the Nintendo Switch. The controls work reasonably well, though I did encounter a few hiccups in getting the game to register certain items. For example, I wanted to look at a puzzle on the side of a rock, but there was a frog standing on the rock. Every time I walked Toto to the rock to look at the puzzle the game would think I wanted to talk to the frog. It is nothing game-breaking but it did break my emersion in the gameplay.
Lost in Play is a fun, feel-good adventure through two children’s fantasy world. There are plenty of enjoyable puzzles to solve and some frustrating puzzle moments. The good thing is that the enjoyable moments far outweigh the frustration. With thirty unique puzzles and mini-games to solve, Lost in Play is a delightfully whimsical game for all the family to enjoy.
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot