The Lost Child – Review
Follow Genre: dungeon crawling RPG
Developer: Kadokawa Games
Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch
Tested on: PS4

The Lost Child – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Appealing anime aesthetic, interesting mix of gameplay elements.
Bad: Horrendous UI, story is cliche and filled with tropes.
User Score
6.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The first person dungeon crawler is a dying breed, to the point where we had even forgotten it existed. As such, fans of this genre are probably parched and dying for a fix. Rejoice: developer Crim recently released its newest title The Lost Child on PS4, Vita, and Nintendo Switch. If recruiting monsters (not too dissimilar from Pokemon!) in an anime supernatural JRPG sounds appealing to you, then read on. This might be a game for you.

Story

The story has you following Hayato, who works at a detective agency that looks into the supernatural. Ironically enough the supernatural ends up dropping in his lap, as he comes across two angels very early on. At this point it is revealed that Hayato is supposedly God’s Chosen One. One of these angels, called Lua, joins your party and teaches you how to fight and trap demons. She also functions as the tutorial mouthpiece. In short, it’s a pretty cliché story about the neverending war between heaven and hell. We didn’t find it particularly engaging. The plot moves at a variable pace, often even erratic, and introduces wacky character upon wacky character, bizarre situation upon bizarre situation. Weirder still is that the game doesn’t seem to be self-aware about it at all, nor do the characters comment on the absurdity of their situation. If it were you could make the case that The Lost Child is taking an satirical stance against anime tropes. Alas, it does not.

Graphics

When the game is going through cutscenes and storytelling, the graphics looks very pretty. They are the very typical visual novel style of anime characters against a still background, while text appears on the bottom. Where the graphics fall apart however, is in the dungeons themselves (extremely bland) and the cluttered combat interface. It’s easy to make the case that the game would have been better off as just a visual novel, where no doubt it would have made a bigger splash. As it stands, the game’s mishmash of genres bleeds over into the graphics department, and the results are clunky. More than anything, it looks like it came straight out of RPG Maker.

Sound

Unlike its graphics, The Lost Child doesn’t suffer from its genre mash-up here. Instead, you get a nice variety between a visual novel’s soothing ambience and “elevator music”, while also having the upbeat tunes that come with typical JRPGs. A massive bonus is that, as far as we could tell, every line of dialogue is voiced! Not only that, you get to decide between English and Japanese voices too. So whether you prefer to listen to dialogue in a language you’re fluent in or whether you’re a purist, everyone is satisfied.

Gameplay

As mentioned earlier, The Lost Child is a first person dungeon-crawling RPG, but with heavy elements of visual novels. What that means is that the story largely progresses the way a visual novel does: with still images, ambient sounds, and voice-overs. However at certain intervals the game will drop you into a “layer”, essentially a dungeon. You progress through this dungeon in a tile-based manner which honestly feels incredibly archaic to the point of being reminiscent of PC RPGs in the late nineties.

In terms of your party, The Lost Child takes a bit of a bend. There’s no real set party here. Instead the player can use Hayato’s supernatural gadgets (most prominently a weapon called the Gangour) to weaken and capture the demons. You can then purify these demons and continue to level them up. Some are stronger than others. This is in essence The Lost Child’s gameplay loop. It’s hard to call it a success, but it’s not exactly a failure either. We feel this is one of those quirky game designs that either really hooks you or simply leaves you apathetic towards it. Gear has a more secondary nature than is usual for RPGs, though drops still happen relatively frequently. It really is all about defeating and capturing these monsters, levelling them and even evolving them. Comparisons to the Pokemon franchise are (at least superficially) quite apt. If you enjoy experimenting with the different critters you encounter and playing to see what they eventually evolve in, you’ll love this aspect. The huge downside to this kind of party is that there’s a serious disconnect between the player and the characters he’s controlling. You’ll love your party members aesthetically perhaps, or for the various moves they can perform, but they really won’t have a backstory or personality to pull you in.

Conclusion

The Lost Child features a very trope-filled anime story of demons and angels, presented by way of visual novel and peppered with incredibly retro dungeon crawling. It is not a bad game, but it is incredibly niche to the point where most gamers will not feel attracted towards it. All in all The Lost Child is an interesting but forgettable experiment that will capture the hearts of but a few.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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The Lost Child - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sabrewylf
Sabrewylf


Some guy with a passion for fighting games and a penchant for procrastination.

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