The Lost Child - Gameplay Trailer (Switch, PS4, PS Vita)
Who it Caters to
Dungeon Crawlers have certainly been a part of the industry for a number of years and are still continuing to bring innovation to its fantastic gameplay. For those looking for a fresh new adventure in the dungeon crawling world, The Lost Child provides an experience that implements some visual novel aesthetic to give players a more immersive, and emotional experience. The cast of characters is diverse which opens up a new realm of narrative direction where you’ll encounter mysterious groups, bystanders and sinister enemies who you’ll need to decode which will provide you with karma for your decisions. All of this ties into one tremendously remarkable experience that has you scouring the many parts of Tokyo in search of clues to ensure that the truth is uncovered, and that the world in which you inhabit is protected by the heavens. You are The Lost Child and now is the time to discover a new path toward freedom, and come to learn of the secrets that bind Heaven and Hell together but also what’s tearing them apart.
What to Expect
The Lost Child is a dungeon crawler which means that most of your playtime will be focused on traveling to various underground worlds known as ‘Layers’, and uncovering information about certain events that have taken place around the area. You’re the main protagonist Hayato, a rookie Occult Journalist who’s been thrown into a war between angels, demons and fallen angels. It’s up to you to use your journalist abilities to uncover clues, capture demons within the layers and use these enemies as allies to tap into the truth of this cruel conflict. Like any other dungeon crawler, expect to do a lot of backtracking, as information is dispersed just about everywhere and you’ll need to gather as much as you can in order to put the pieces of this puzzle together.
Each Layer you enter presents its own challenges and enemies to battle so making sure to always keep your demon team fully prepped is integral to your survival. In a way, The Lost Child sort of plays out like Pokemon where you must capture demons and fallen angels, train and strengthen them using the karma you accumulate through dialogue and battles, then defeat the strong bosses that lie ahead. Instead of a Pokeball, you use what’s known as the Gangour and instead of the Pokedex, you have your Tablet, which you’ll use quite frequently to keep track of items, skills, enemies and much more. The formula is there but, of course, The Lost Child plays out much differently and allows you to adjust on the fly, giving players the freedom to always stay ahead of the game even when things get tough.
Every battle you engage in is all turn-based and will require you to strategically come up with ways to defeat enemies on screen, having some knowledge about how elements work. To be more specific, the enemies you encounter are known as Astrals and they include what we mentioned earlier (demons, fallen angels, and angels), with each having an element attached to them. By obtaining skills through playing, you’ll be able to tackle tough enemies by exploiting their elemental weak points, while using your own buffs to ensure your team stays alive. We’ll talk more about karma and how it works later in the gameplay section, but for now, expect there to be a lot of twists and turns as you traverse through the modern city of Tokyo, with heavenly and demonic forces engaging a covert war with you being a part of it all. The decisions you make in game will certainly be reflected throughout the story, but your primary objective is take note of everything you see and use it to your advantage. Take baths in the bath house to also receive buffs while in Layers, so bathe often!
So to talk briefly about karma, it’s essentially the ‘skill point’ that you earn through conversing with witnesses on the scene, allies you come across, and, of course, through battle. Depending on how you respond in dialogue will determine the color of the karma you receive, which again will play a role in how some (not all) of the story unfolds. You’ll also be using the karma to strengthen and level up your Astrals before and after battle, but you cannot use that karma on Hayato as a heads up. You level up seperately to your Astrals so bear that in mind as you play through as well. The game gives you a generous breakdown of just how karma works so we’ll let you experience it hands on, but we just wanted to give you a heads up of what its main purpose is and how it will affect gameplay moving forward. Now once you’ve jumped into the game and soaked in a number of hours, the pace of the game starts to change. In the opening portion of the game, it’s really just a breakdown of what’s happening, introducing you to the world of Layers, and how big of role they play in hunting down the enemy. Towards the mid-portion of the game, you will have already understood what needs to be executed and so, a lot of your time will be spent investigating mysterious events in the area, traveling from one part of Tokyo to another and discovering surprises along the way.
The Lost Child does a good job of voice acting, but at times, those voices abruptly end during conversation making some scenes a little awkward, and it takes you out of the experience. This of course isn’t frequent but it certainly caught our attention as one moment you’d have a full on voice acting ensemble and then a few minutes later, it would just go back to nothing and you’d need to start voicing the characters in your head. Whether that was intended is beyond our comprehension, but we’re sure some players may find it to be a tad weird, so just a heads up moving forward. Engaging in battle is really exciting as you’re able to swap characters in and out of battle on the fly should one of them not perform well, get KOed, or you simply don’t feel that Astral is fit for the occasion. You’ll be doing a lot of Astral swapping simply because, as we mentioned earlier, elements play a big role in defeating the much tougher enemies, so ensuring you have a diverse squad of Astrals is imperative to consistent wins. We’ll admit that we took some pretty big hits in the early stages of the game because we totally forgot about the elements and their important role, but once you wrap your head around it all, then strategies start to develop and the game becomes more enthralling.
As stated earlier in the review, each Layer you traverse through will come with their own perils so be wary of them. For example, in Mount Fuji, you have what’s known as Phantom Walls, which look like ordinary walls but if you have a keen eye you’ll start to notice that some are an illusion. Walking through those walls can be of great benefit or may be a trap so it’s really important to pick and choose your battles to ensure you don’t fall prey to anything that could ruin your flow. Speaking of traps, you’ll discover a great deal of treasure chests scattered around each world and all of them come with a trap system where, if you’re able to successfully make it through, you get what’s inside. However if you slip up you’ll be punished either by taking physical damage or have other ailments placed upon you such as not being able to see the map for 50 steps, etc. Fortunately, you’re able to try and reopen the treasure chest but you’re still taking the risk of getting trapped so be mindful.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
So, is The Lost Child a worthwhile take on the dungeon crawling RPG genre? It definitely is, despite some small hiccups along the way, one of which we already mentioned. The game can feel slow at times and we don’t mean in terms of framerate but just the overall pacing, which some players may be turned off by. We stated that the game does implement a sort of visual novel aesthetic into the gameplay which means that you’ll be doing a lot of reading, but to be quite frank, it’s perhaps important to read between the lines to grasp just what’s happening around you. Moreso, just getting to know each character you encounter is really intriguing and so skipping through the dialogue just to get to the juicy stuff kind of defeats the purpose. Everything is weaved together beautifully and so skipping out on one area just to get to the next part robs you of the experience, so we encourage you that despite how slow it feel just immerse yourself in it all. We promise that it’ll be worth your wild until the very end! With plenty of cool puzzles to solve and secrets to discover, The Lost Child is a game jam packed with content that’s rewarding and totally enjoyable once you get the hang of things.
Solid turn based battle system that’s easy to use.
Challenging puzzles and plenty of secrets to discover!
Great story and dialogue.
Some scenes had voices cut out at random, which took a lot of immersion away.
The game starts off slow but does pick up later.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found this review of The Lost Child to be insightful and informative, to give you a more clear decision about whether you should pick it up or not. The Lost Child has a lot to offer to those who invest a lot into the game since there’s so much to explore and experience the many surprises along the adventure. For anyone who loves dungeon crawlers then this is a must have for the Switch, and for those looking for something fresh The Lost Child will certainly hit the spot! The Lost Child drops June 19th but in the meantime, follow us on Twitch to see us play the game live! We’ll be covering a lot more content and go over details on the fly!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!