It’s been a busy couple of months for me, but I’m thrilled I was able to carve out time for Lost Ember. The way the narrative structure of this story unfolds is impressive and always kept me excited, and occasionally dreading, to find the next clue. When the story itself wasn’t propelling me to find the next thing, I also enjoyed exploring the incredibly beautiful world Mooneye created. Though I did wish the explorable parts of the world had been expanded on more. Lost Ember is a fun and relaxing way to experience a touching story. This is our Lost Ember review.
Lost Ember takes place in the ruins of an old tribe who believed people who lived up to their ideals in life would pass on to the City of Lights upon their death, whereas people who fell short of the ideals would be reincarnated as a wild animal. The player character is a soul who has been reincarnated as a Wolf and thus doesn’t speak or remember their past life.
Right from the beginning, however, it is shown these aren’t the only two options for the afterlife. I happened upon a lost ember who, although he didn’t remember who he was, did remember a lot about the tribe, and knew he should be passing on to the City of Lights, but he was stuck. It’s through the teamwork of the lost ember helping the wolf to remember their past and the wolf breaking down the barriers stopping the ember that the story progresses.
The wolf’s history is complicated, and there are a lot of apparent reasons why they didn’t pass on, but the unfolding of this story is very well crafted. We don’t get to see the memories in the order they happen. Instead, through exploring, I found specific locations that were important in the wolf’s life. These spots were marked with red smoke on the ground. Piecing how everything happened, and more importantly, why it all happened is the central point of Lost Ember. The lost ember companion not only serves the role of explaining the images we discover but also puts everything in cultural context so the real meaning of it can be understood. There’s real emotion expressed in many of these memories, and through the ember’s voice, it all comes across clearly and had a lot of impact on me.
Aside from figuring out the story, exploration is a key aspect of Lost Ember. Although there are specific areas where there is a narrow range of exploration, for the most part, I was free to roam to my heart’s content. Unfortunately, I did on occasion wander a bit too far and found some areas where what looked like solid ground wasn’t solid ground, which was disappointing. Thankfully those areas were rare, and mostly, I was just blocked by the natural shapes of the area I was in. One hilarious note though; just jumping a short distance, say over a log in a stream that’s running downhill. Due to the steepness of the hill the game acted as if I died even though I could walk over that area. Little things like that stuck out, but weren’t detrimental to the game.
One of the most exciting aspects, aside from the story, is the ability to possess other animals. This ability is chiefly used to get through obstacles a wolf wouldn’t usually be able to navigate, like flying down a cliff or burrowing underground. In addition to the useful abilities, every animal also has a couple of just for fun abilities as well. My favorite animal to possess was the wombats because they can roll, which was a ton of fun, especially going downhill.
The armadillos were sort of annoying to use. They could burrow underground and move around. This sounds cool but it was temperamental at times. Additionally, they could also find “gems” underground, but those turned out to be nut shaped mushrooms, which was confusing. This ability can even be used on animals that offer no advantage in traversing the area; they were just fun (i.e., ducklings).
For collectors, there’s a bunch of different things to find in each area. Different kinds of mushrooms were the most plentiful, but I liked looking for the legendary animals the most. These were glowing versions of whatever type of animal they are. There’s a guide that can be used to get a clue about where to look for them, but the clues are pretty vague. If you don’t like wandering around and exploring some of these animals can be quite hard to find. Sadly, they didn’t seem to have any special abilities.
I enjoyed every moment of Lost Ember, and when I stopped playing, I just wanted to get back in the game and wander around more and find more of the memories. The way the wolf and ember’s stories interweave is also touching and drew me into the world. It’s only about 6 hours long, depending on how much time is spent exploring, but it’s a great focused adventure game.
This review was done on a PC with a code provided by PR.