Lost in Play | Lost in Play Game Review, Details, and More

Lost in Play Game Review, Details, and More: Do you know how a game instantly charms you from the moment you lay your eyes on it? Puzzler with point-and-click controls For me, Lost In Play is one of those games.

Lost in Play | Lost in Play Game Review, Details, and More
Lost in Play

Lost in Play Game Details

Initial release date: 20 February 2022
Developer: Happy Juice Games
Engine: Unity
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Mac operating systems
Genres: Adventure game, Puzzle Video Game, Indie game, Casual game, Adventure
Publisher: Joystick Ventures

RELEASE DATE

ESRB RATING

PLATFORMS

PUBLISHER

REVIEWER

Bob Hoose

LOST IN PLAY

Do you know how a game instantly charms you from the moment you lay eyes on it? Puzzler with point-and-click controls For me, Lost In Play is one of those games. Its vibrant cartoon visuals immediately drew my attention when I first played the Steam Next Fest demo earlier this year, and I'm happy to report that the full game, which is now available, is just as captivating.

It tells the story of Toto and Gal, two rambunctious siblings who end up far from home after becoming lost inside their own fantasy world. They'll be stuck there forever if they don't find a way back before nightfall. A classic children's adventure story, in other words, but one that revels in its own sense of levity. Lost in Play Game Review

They'll meet monster-fighting frogs in a dark forest, board game-playing seagulls on the high seas, or mechanics in a vast desert, and even a heavy-metal-loving sheep on a floating island in the sky on their way home to their messy childhood bedroom. It all makes for some memorable puzzle backdrops but be warned: if you're going to play this with kids, you'll definitely need a puzzle-savvy adult in the mix, as some of the brainteasers aren't quite as kid-friendly as you might expect.

For the most part, Lost In Play is typical adventure game fare. You'll be interacting with the environment and its colourful cast of characters as you move Toto and Gal through its whimsical mishmash of folkloric landscapes, collecting all manner of puzzle objects.

A frog, for example, may require a can opener to eat his tasty tinned fly food, whereas a pesky goblin may require you to collect four rubber ducks before agreeing to let you up on his giant stork in an attempt to fly you home. Interaction points are clearly marked as you move your mouse across the screen, though, surprisingly, playing with a gamepad felt more natural here (which is also the recommended input from the developers, too).

Whatever your preferred method of interaction is, clicking on these points will assist you in beginning to piece together what everyone requires. In Lost In Play, characters all speak in the same nonsensical gibberish (which is surprisingly pleasing on the ears), but you'll be relieved to know that every request is accompanied by simple pictorial symbols of the item in question.

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This means you'll never be left wondering what to do next or which object goes where allowing the game to elegantly avoid the age-old adventure game stumbling block of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. It also keeps things simple and straightforward for any young players who may be present.

But in Lost In Play, it's not all about matching square pegs with square holes. To get certain items, you must first solve some Professor Layton-style logic puzzles, such as herding sheep into specific tile squares or outwitting a monster by leading it through a maze. Lost in Play Game Review

Most are fairly simple, especially when preceded by their own individual tutorial, but some are a little hazy in their presentation, and the game's reliance on images over text didn't always succeed in conveying some of its finer nuances. There's also an entire card game near the end of Toto and Gal's adventure that just throws you in with no explanation.

To their credit, developers Happy Juice Games provide plenty of tools to help players in times of crisis - in addition to an info button that serves as an always-accessible tutorial reminder of how puzzles work, there's also a hint button you can use at any time, and an instant reset option if you end up going wrong or fail to win a game of checkers against a particularly cunning forest imp, for example.

To be fair, on the few occasions when I did get stuck, the hint button was usually enough to point me in the right direction. But it made me wonder how kids would fare in the same situation, especially if they didn't have a handy adult playing alongside them.

It's an odd tension for a game that appears and feels so welcoming to younger players elsewhere, though I should emphasize that these instances were the exception rather than the rule. Lost In Play's logic puzzles, on the whole, added a welcome sense of variety to its fantastical style of adventure game brain-flexing, and nearly all of them riffed on what was actually going on in the story.

There's none of Layton's abstract 'This reminds me of a puzzle!' nonsense here, sir. There were perhaps a few too many sliding puzzles for my taste (and we all know how I feel about those), but these were the only times Lost In Play seemed to be repeating itself. Everything else felt fresh and different.

But, honestly, who can be mad at such opulent and lavish imagery? When Lost In Play is in motion, it's truly breathtaking, and the developer's background in the art and animation industries shines through. Each interaction is beautifully realized with a lively sense of humour, and it's stuffed full of incidental details that had me giggling almost nonstop while I was playing.

It truly feels like you're playing an interactive cartoon, not only because of how it's presented but also because its various stages are all divided into easily digestible 15-20 minute puzzling chunks. It helps to keep the pace light and breezy, and by the time I got these kids home, any logical frustrations I'd felt were like tiny bumps in the road, barely visible in my rearview mirror.

I was actually more disappointed that all of the other exotic locations seen in the trailer weren't actually playable stages, but rather part of a cutscene that plays out as the kids get closer to home. I wanted to jump through lava and pull thistles from a giant's toe, not watch it unfold in front of me, but hey, it's a small dev team, so I understand.

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Even without those extra pit stops, Lost In Play is a fun adventure in and of itself, and the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Aside from the logic hiccups, I think this is a great game to play with kids - just be prepared to take over some of the puzzle-solving if you do. Finally, Lost In Play is like curling up with a good book and suddenly realizing four hours have passed.

LOST IN PLAY GAME REVIEW

There's something special about the imaginative worlds that an active child's mind can conjure up. And the new point-and-click puzzler Lost in Play can reflect that creativity, transporting players on a fanciful adventure filled with strange creatures, difficult puzzles, and appealing visuals.

The plot revolves around a pair of rambunctious siblings: a little redhead girl and her blonde mop-topped brother. Throughout the adventure, players take turns playing as both. Things begin with Sis tumbling out of bed early on a sun-kissed morning, eager to play with her sleepy-headed Bro. Before you can say cardboard-cutout-monster-head, the two have vanished into an imaginary world of boardgame-playing seagulls, sneaky castle-attacking quests, and dragon-dungeon explorations. Lost in Play Game Review

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This day's play, on the other hand, has taken them far beyond a magical gate. And they only have the time it takes for the full moon to thin to a sliver to return through that power-infused gate before they're trapped in the fantasy dreamscape for good. And they have a slew of environmental puzzles to solve, talking animals and fairies to contend with, and quests to complete in order to return home.

The point-and-click challenges are well-designed, ranging from connect-the-dot problems to checkers-like board games to symbol mix-and-match puzzles. A number of logic puzzles involve luring a monster through a maze, opening a treasure chest on the back of a giant kid-gulping fish, and herding a bouncy critter into a specific corner of a kid-sized board game.

Then there are quests for talking frogs who require a can opener for a tin of flies, or a goblin who requires you to find a sufficient number of hidden rubber ducks before granting you passage on a giant crane.

The game has dialogue, but it's all gibberish. However, the various encountered characters are easily understood through their gestures and the visuals around them. Even though there are no verbal punchlines, slapstick chuckles are a big part of the play. Lost in Play Game Review

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POSITIVE CONTENT

Lost in Play exudes cartoony, kid-friendly charm. In fact, its vibrant environments will appeal to people of all ages. Furthermore, the quests and puzzles can be played with children and parents working together (more on that later), and the conundrum challenges can be broken down into short stretches of play.

The puzzlers themselves are varied enough that the time spent never feels tedious or slow.

CONTENT CONCERNS

Some of the game's fantasy world environments and creatures, such as the dragon dungeon and a massive fish with dozens of eyes, can feel strange and dark. But the game constantly reminds you that you're in a fantasy world. And it never crosses the line into being frightening or creepy.

The main antagonist who attempts to halt the children's progress is far more goofy than mean and evil, motivated primarily by his own greedy obsessions.

There are some potty-humor laughs here. For example, while searching for something under her bed with a flashlight, Sis surprises their cat, who is licking his own backside. But those gas-passing and belching bits are all typical Saturday morning cartoon fare. Some quest solutions necessitate a bit of thievery. A duck also smokes a pipe.

It should also be noted that if small children dive into this colourful game, they may require some parental assistance. The game guides kids to puzzle solutions with simple indicators and a helpful clue system, but the challenges can be difficult at times. (Playing with young gamers by Mom or Dad is a great solution and a fun bonding activity.)

LOST IN PLAY GAME SUMMARY

Lost in Play goes to great lengths to recreate the fun of a child's imaginary domain through vibrant and cartoony visuals. Except for a few eye-roll-worthy moments, Mom and Dad can also enjoy the point-and-click adventure.