Children have the most fascinating of imaginations and Lost in Play epitomizes this by providing a front row seat to witness the product of these fascinations. Released in August 2022 for the Nintendo Switch, Steam and Mac, the game promises to be a nostalgia packed trip invoking your own childhood musings. The game is developed by Happy Juice Games on Unity engine and is published by Joystick Ventures.
Lost in Play is a linear, point and click puzzle-based adventure featuring an imaginative brother-sister duo (Toto and Gal) who, by the virtue of their imagination, are transported into a fantasy world filled with peculiar creatures and now have to return back to their home. The game starts off with the sister traipsing in an open field, where she meets three creatures, a frog, an aviator hat wearing duck and a gnome. She solves a puzzle, and the gnome gives her a key which opens a door leading to her room, which she shares with her brother. The scene transitions to her waking up from a mysterious light from the window, and here you get a glimpse of what mischief Gal can get up to. This seemingly typical portrayal of their life soon transitions into something straight out of a Grimm brother’s fairy tale when, during one of their play sessions, the duo activates a portal transporting them to another world.
You have to solve puzzles which range from performing actions in a specific order to using environmental cues to save various characters, that you encounter, who then help you out in your endeavours. Most of these challenges are pretty easy and there are no penalties as such for failing these challenges since the game focuses more on providing a simple but engaging experience. The game has a hint mechanism as well, which you can use unlimited number of times and is very liberal with the hints provided, so that you don’t get stuck at any puzzle. I get what the developers were trying to achieve, catering to a younger audience, but I would have enjoyed some more depth to the puzzles to make my experience more engaging.
There are multiple areas that you visit, a dark forest, a transformed version of your town, vast expanse of the ocean and so on. Your ultimate goal is to return back home before night falls, otherwise Gal and Toto will be stuck in the fantasy land forever. You have to solve puzzles in an area to progress and it involves a combination of collecting items to trade with creatures of the fantasy land with the sole aim to get that one items which will help you travel to the next area and solving environmental puzzles.
Coming to the visual style, the game feels like a show from Cartoon Network with its cartoon like visuals, presence of bright colours and cute looking characters. The focus is more on the foreground details and is presented in a way to make players ignore the background. The music was nice and soothing, it didn’t intrude on my gaming experience and shined during the excellent cutscenes present in the game.
- Lovely story resonating with my own childhood
- Affable characters who made the journey more interesting and immersive
- Would have loved more depth with regards to the puzzles
Lost in Play was an incredible experience, which served as a beautiful reminder to my own childhood and my wild imagination, as I dreamt of going on a grand adventure, fighting monsters and becoming a hero. There is certainly room for improvements, especially with respect to puzzles as it would have provided a challenge. Overall, Lost in Play is a game that people of all ages will have fun with and find something to love.