I have played a lot of different games over the last couple years, but I can definitely say that none have been as artistic and creative as Lost Words: Beyond the Page. Published by Modus games, Lost Words was initially released on Google Stadia with an agreement that it wouldn’t be released on any other console for one year. If you didn’t get a chance to check it out on the Stadia you are now in luck since it has finally come to all the other consoles and PC.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page was written by Rhianna Pratchett. You may know her as the writer for Tomb Raider and Mirror's Edge. She has totally captured the feelings and relationships that you experience when you are growing up. The voice acting is great. First you hear a happy and excited child but as the game progresses you hear anger, frustration and sadness. I don't want to ruin anything since this is a very story driven game, but I can assure you that you will find a lot of the events in Lost Words that you have personally experienced in your own life. It's pretty easy to figure out where the story is going, but that doesn't dampen the experience of getting there. If you are an emotional type of person I suggest having some tissues nearby.
You play as Lizzy, a young girl who is very close to her family, especially her grandmother. She loves animals especially cats, writing and creating art in her journal. She has decided that her goal in life is to become a writer. So listening to the advice her gram gave her she decides to keep a journal to record her life experiences, and to practice her writing by creating her own story.
The journal provides some of the most unique gameplay I have ever experienced. You have to jump and walk on the words that Izzy has written to make them come to life. If you touch one of the stars you will see watercolour pictures come to live or a cute quip on what Izzy is thinking at the time. If you fall off the words and to the bottom of the page you will fall back on to the top of the page. So you can try to navigate the words again making sure you step on every word. Once you have touched all the words more writing will appear. Some words you will be able to move around the page to reveal hidden images or to just give you a platform to jump onto to reach areas you weren’t able to reach before. When the page is complete a tear in the paper will appear that you jump into and this will take you to the next page.
This isn’t the whole game keep in mind, just a small part. You will jump between Izzy writing about her daily life and the story that she is working on. Estoria is the fantasy world that Izzy has created in her story. The main character is a young girl who becomes the guardian of the fireflies. This story that Izzy is writing becomes the 2D platformer game that you will play through. Your character has a book of words that you use to make your character perform certain tasks and manipulate the environments. At first you have a small selection of words to choose from, but as you play through the different chapters in the book, new words and abilities will get added for you to try out and use.
Izzy isn’t the only one who makes decisions about the characters and events in the story: you will help create this world. You get to choose from three choices what the main character of the story is named and some of her attributes. For my playthrough I chose the name Grace, that she is smart and her outfit would be purple. As events unfold, you will be asked again to make some more decisions making you really feel like you are helping craft the story. As you jump between the journal and the story you will see that Izzy’s writing helps her deal and work out the feelings of hardship she feels in real life.
At first glance Lost Words: Beyond the Page may seem like a simple 2D platformer game. That’s only part of it. Once you mix in the great soundtrack, voice acting and the unique interactions with the journal, it becomes so much more. It is a very short game: I got through it in less than four hours. But I was happy with how the story ended up concluding. Even though that meant more tears. It’s a game I think definitely needs to be experienced. It will definitely pull at your heartstrings.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
A short 2D platforming game with very unique gameplay. It’s an incredibly artistic game with a great soundtrack and voice acting to compliment a story that adults can really relate to. If you are an emotional person, like me, be prepared for tears.