Lost Words: Beyond the Page Review

Death is a difficult subject to discuss because everyone looks at it through a different lens. Everyone has their own experience with death, some of them have never experienced it and therefore cannot truly empathize with the feeling of loss. Many indie games try to discuss death, but when it comes to Lost Words: Beyond the Page, it’s hard to tell whether or not it understands the subject or if the game just embraces it in a shallow effort. Lost Words: Beyond the Page is the story of Isabelle and the strong relationship she shares with her grandmother. After receiving a journal and starting her first story, Izzy creates a world that seems meant to run parallel to her own. The gameplay is more inspired by 2D side-scrolling platformers but without any stress. Lost Words will never be heavy in the way most platformers are because it’s all about the story, but this also means that the obstacles are always easy to overcome and only need to be performed over and over again to continue. This is just one of the ways that Lost Words: Beyond the Page does a strange dance: its innocent charm is also where its biggest flaw lies. Unlike the nearby indie game If Found…, players in Lost Words start on the blank pages of Izzy’s notebook by having the little avatar jump from line to line. After learning about the life of Izzy and her grandmother, players can help Izzy make her hero by choosing her name (here she’s named Georgia), dress color, and iconic features. However, while this opportunity allows players to feel as if they have stepped into Georgia’s shoes when her story begins, the various choices the player makes are deceptive and have nothing to do with the story itself. lost words beyond the page The story of Lost Words will alternate between Izzy’s real world and her creation, Estoria, which has fallen to a dragon. Now, Georgia must find the fireflies and stop the dragon from destroying the world. It’s clear here that Georgia is meant to represent Izzy and that Elder Ava is her druidic grandmother, but the events taking place in Estoria struggle to tie themselves to the turmoil in Isabelle’s real life, creating a hole in value of a player’s investment otherwise. hold when playing Lost Words. Elder Ava is clearly Gran, but Ava has little significance in Georgia’s story, making the two worlds feel disconnected where they should be windows to each other. However, what the game is trying to do is awesome and unique. Lost Words: Beyond the Page swaps between Izzy’s real life, where players can discover events by jumping through words and solving minute-long puzzles, and Estoria, where Georgia uses a book of spells to overcome obstacles. These puzzles are basic but still innovative. Over the course of her story, Georgia learns new words that each have different effects, On the flipside, Lost Word: Beyond the Page’s story of death and dealing with loss is predictable. From the moment Gran is introduced, it’s not hard to predict the beginning, middle, and end of the plot. While that’s not a complete failure, the problem is that the game fails to meet the expectations it set by having two stories running parallel to each other. Estoria fails to act as a symbol of Izzy’s life and Georgia’s problems have no real meaning. His quest to bring back the fireflies and confront the dragon has little stake in the real world and therefore risks the player not being invested in his problems. lost words beyond the page While it’s clear that Georgia’s helpless loss while searching for the dragon is a metaphor for her depression and struggle to deal with her gran’s passing, this short indie game almost makes a great point about dealing with sadness that it never reached. At her disposal, Izzy has a journal in which she can reveal and deal with her pain. However, as Georgia confronts the dragon, Izzy’s confrontation with grief is illuminated as she falls into escapism behind her own story. It is not clear what helps Izzy overcome the grief of her grandmother’s death and move towards a stage of acceptance. RELATED: The Best Video Game Stories of 2020 If the dragon, which continues to haunt Estoria, is meant to represent death, it doesn’t quite hit the satisfying chord that symbols should. This can be seen in many elements in Izzy’s story, such as Lump, a childlike fireball who introduces a new puzzle-solving spell that guides Georgia through the fog of her depression, and the sudden genocide of the seakin, a race that no. unlike The Legend of Zelda’s Zora. lost words beyond the page Death is a complicated subject to make central to a story because most audience members will have a different takeaway. This narrative will likely strike most players differently. While Izzy gets over her grief fairly quickly, perhaps because she’s young, Lost Words also removes much of the complexity associated with death and loss that many players will experience. While Lost Words portrays the experience of loss from a younger perspective with a stunningly talented voice actress, but in the end, what remains is the story of a girl traveling through the five stages of grief. Even though Lost Words: Beyond the Page tries to get past that it’s a touching story, much of the depth of this great indie game is blocked by primitive symbols and juvenile cliches. Lost Words: Beyond the Page will be released on PC via Steam, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One on April 6, 2021. Today Technology was provided with a Switch code for this review. MORE: How GMs Can Use Maquettes to Improve Their TTRPG Puzzles

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