The Lost Child
While most RPG’s have continually used either the JRPG turn based style or the first person style used by games like Skyrim and Fallout, not many have stuck to the old school yet fun dungeon crawling format. What’s the difference you ask? The dungeon crawler is more methodical, using long periods of story telling and even longer periods of dungeon exploration. It’s been quite some time since I sat down with a good old school dungeon crawler and I didn’t know how much I missed it’s gameplay style until this gem graced my Switch.
Using convoluted story ideas that would give any JRPG a run for their money, The Lost Child places the main character smack dab in the middle of a battle between angels and demons. You play as occult journalist Hayato Ibukim a writer for the Japanese supernatural journal LOST. While investigating rumors of bizarre suicides on a subway platform you’re thrust headlong into a battle of good verses evil when you acquire the Gangour, a weapon that allows the user to subjugate demons (and later fallen angels) to help you in battle. An angel named Lua makes it her mission to help you and so begins your quest to stop all demons… or something like that. To be honest, the story get’s exceedingly convoluted as the game goes on.
Graphically dungeon crawlers aren’t really known for their art quality, but the hand drawn, manga-esque, character models are crisp and clean in HD. Characters are cleanly drawn and, since it takes place in modern times, are drawn as very fashion forward. This fashion style does lead the character designers down the path of tropes however. Seriously, why is it necessary for Lua to be wearing a white brazier and a button up shirt that is 2 sizes too small? Why does Lucifel (the narrator of the story) only have 2 buttons buttoned showing off both his chest and his abs? Why, for the love of god, is Mastema wearing a corset when her boobs are already gargantuan?!?! If you can get passed this VERY JRPG character design, you’ll be just fine; just don’t let your significant other walk in at the wrong time or you’ll have some explaining to do.
While most dungeon crawlers usually allow you to see enemies and give you options to try and circumvent them, The Lost Child does random encounters. The likelihood of it happening is supposed to increase and decrease whether you’re walking down a hallway or entering through a door, but it honestly felt just as likely all the time because you go through so many doorways. The one addition they made to the game was the ability to put your character on cruise control when traveling from one place in the dungeon to another. While this is only available once you’ve explored the pathway, it’s extremely helpful when you push a button that unlocks a door on the other side of the map. The game chooses the shortest path to the desired location and starts moving, if you come across a random encounter the game will go into battle and then resume movement once the battle has concluded.
Battle wise you have a lot of control but no control at the same time. You can pick and choose each individual characters attack but you don’t have a lot of cues as to the order that they will attack in, making choosing the correct attack a little hard at times. This could cause all of your single attacks to attack individual opponents while your attack all attack is left to do damage to only one person (a waste of MP). They did do a good job of creating visual cues for agro though. During the fight each character has an eye in the bottom right corner of their tile. The more wide open and rapidly moving the eye, the more agro a character has accrued, meaning they’re the next likely to be attacked. This is very important to keep your eye on as HP is not in large quantities in this game.
There are many things that The Lost Child does well, but it definitely does not put itself in the MUST BUY category. If you’re looking for something to wet your nostalgia whistle then this is a good game to pick up. It harkens back to a seldom used game mechanic that delivers a lot of puzzle solving and story, except the story is a little too bonkers. If this sounds like it’s up your alley though, look for it on the Nintendo eShop.
- Fun to play but not the best
- Tons of astrals to capture
- Crawl ALL the dungeons
- Old school play style
- Convoluted storyline
- Scantly clad characters for no reason
- Story meanders about half way through