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svgfahmesvgJune 11, 2022svgReviews

Game Design Analysis: Lost Words

Do you write?

If you do, then you are in for an absolute delight, my friend.

Do you love adventure?

If you do, then finish this writeup as soon as you can and rush towards Lost Words: Beyond The Page.

I owe you an explanation. So, here goes.

Imagine you’re writing a story. You have the words pouring out of your hand as you keep thinking and moving your fingers. In your head, it’s a moving image. It’s lively. It’s real. You can visualize it thoroughly in your mind’s eyes. You desperately wish that you can explain properly, whatever you’re seeing through your mind’s eyes. That’s how you write, right? After you are done with it, people read it, and someday, maybe it gets some visualization as they make a movie/ animation clip out of it. But not anymore. In lost words, everything that gets written in the diary gets the visualization immediately, in a magical way! This story mechanism has nailed it already. Since I first came across this information, I have been hooked into this. Finally, it did come out in google stadia at the beginning of 2020 but since stadia isn’t available in Bangladesh, I had no option but to watch the streamers’ contents. This became my everyday routine before going to sleep in this lockdown period. It’s a magical means of getting into the world of dreams. However, dreams do come true if you believe them dearly and out of nowhere, Ludonarracon, a festival of narrative games started in the last week of April and as the host, steam released a trial version of the game absolutely free to play for one week! The game doesn’t come out on steam or any other platforms until next year, so this was a blessing directly from heaven. I have been a big fan of Rhianna Pratchett, who has written this game. Without any further adieu, let’s discover whatever design analysis I have done after playing the trial version for hours.

The idea of writings coming to life on screen is eccentric. But you will be amazed once again to see how they have designed the interaction between a pen and the writings on the diaries. As you move around the pages, you will have to work with different words. Believe me, this is the most beautiful way I have ever seen around words. People have made hundreds and thousands of apps, games, and digital content regarding words over the years. Being someone working closely with media and education both, I have never seen such beautiful interpretations. You can move over words, use them to function. For example, in the picture below, you can see a snapshot of the game where I was using the word piece ‘blew’ to blow out the candles in the diary.

How magical is that! I literally ‘unlocked’ a door later on. All I had to

As you move like ink through the elements you write or draw, they change. You move on the curtains, they come to life. Also, you must admit that the word choices are too cute to handle.

I mean she named her brother “He-who-chews-curtains”, come on! This is similar to a crime, being this much cute!

It only gets more beautiful as you move through the pages. Look at this transition and guess what was the gameplay here.

I won’t explain anything. I don’t need to. Whatever you thought of, came to be real. Yes, that’s true.

I have had my fair share of night adventures at night on a beach. This following moment was close to my heart.

As you move through the sentences using your direction keys, it feels so fulfilling to see the tides animating. The controls are just on-point.

They just used the usual controls of a platformer game and a little work with the words using the mouse. None of it felt out of shape or hard to master. Even the spellbook summoning seemed so intuitive. I could open it anywhere, giving me the option to have an easy drag option to any place on the screen. Oh, I guess I haven’t told you about the details of the spellbook! How silly of me, but this game has got me a bit unsettled in pleasure!

Now, when I was starting to think that I have seen the most beautiful thing already, the transition between worlds happened. You choose to write an adventure story and it happens on the page of the diary!

As the voice says, “In the land of Estoria..”, the magical kingdom appears on the page of the diary and you start your journey there.

The story is cute there as well, as expected. You are a young apprentice who will eventually be the guardian, protecting her village by magic. Every word you learn will end up in a spellbook from where you can get them to use for different purposes. Using words to create magic while keeping it close to the original meaning- this is the style most loved worldwide, thanks to Harry Potter and his spells. Lost Words has gone a step forward and uses them in their exact meaning. For example, you use the word ‘rise’ to magically lift objects and clear your way forward.

The way the game introduces customization is also interesting. Writers always have different choices about names and elements while they are writing. This game lets you do tiny customizations like names, dress colors, etc in a very engaging manner. Though the customization is tiny, it feels really powerful. I tried the game with a different variation of names just to see how it sounds. I changed the dress colors to see how she looks in different colors. You can also notice the change in dialogues according to the characteristics you choose for the character, which was really cool.

Gameplay has all the elements of a platformer, so you jump, bend down and move around like your usual platformer, but you use the mouse for magic.

The sound effects are on point as expected. What really sets this game apart from others is the story and the setting- the way it has represented the whole thing. If you could hug a game, I would have hugged it already. It feels absolutely fulfilling to spend every second in it. The story is magical and cute, they have lots of laughter, magic, sorceress, and a dragon as well. What are you waiting for? I believe this is a revolution in terms of storytelling. The way they have told the story will blow your mind away. The most beautiful way to play with words ever created in digital media for me.

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