Lost Ember – Review
Follow Genre: Exploration Game, Playable Novel
Developer: Mooneye Studios
Publisher: Mooneye Studios
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Lost Ember – Review

Site Score
Good: All-ages accessible exploration game with a good story
Bad: Poor in gameplay options/challenge and restricted in exploration
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Lost Ember is the baby of Mooneye Studios, a relatively young game studio. It’s a game that impressed many early on with its visuals and managed to drag in a small 8000 backers on Kickstarter. This obviously is a good sign for any small game studio that is willing to pour buckets of passion into a project. But let’s see how the end product turned out, shall we?


Lost Ember is a story that depicts an entire civilization of old. A civilization that believes in a single God, and that you are allowed to go to the City of Light (their version of Heaven) when you live a good life and when you surrender yourself to that God. Those who do not are actually turned into lost embers, wild animals with nowhere to go. The story begins as a worthy spirit lost its way to the City of Light and finds a lost ember, which is you, on its way. As it turns out, you get granted a gift that you can use to take over multiple animals as well, which conveniently helps you travel the land and skies.

The story might just be everything that Lost Ember is about. There is some gameplay, but it’s clear that the focus has not been put on such parts of the game. You explore a world to find certain ”cutscene points”, which look like flares on the ground, and these bring you a new part of the story with often a cutscene that shows you pieces of your own past before you became a lost ember. Other than that you can’t talk since you are a wolf being, but the spirit accompanying you often asks you questions and narrates what’s going on. Especially the questions make the game feel like a Sunday morning kid’s program on TV with a clear Brittish voice, but the story by itself is much more mature than that and teaches us lessons about humans, life, and death.


Played on the PlayStation 4, the game does look beautiful but probably would look better with customizable graphics on the PC. On the PS4 (regular edition, not Pro), the vegetation in environments looks a bit rough at times, and not as smooth as it could be. The animal animations for multiple animals, however, are pretty smooth and generally look cute. There are even some extra animations added just for fun that you can use as an animal to i.e. lay down and be adorable or munch on a berry. In general, the atmosphere in Lost Ember can be named as bright and beautiful as an untouched paradise with colorful trees on a hot summer’s day with a firm cool wind. It’s a nice mix that blends together with the ruins of an old civilization, and a good chunk of what makes up Lost Ember rather unique.


Lost Ember is often accompanied by a soft piano atmospheric tune, but sometimes it’s also just silent with the sounds of nature surrounding you. Especially this silence is well-chosen at times because it allows you to really feel and experience the rawness and beautiful scenery that Lost Ember has to offer you. The Brittish voice-over of the spirit is a bit weird in a game that’s about an ancient civilization, but you can get used to it. Besides these things, the animals themselves up close make very little sounds actually, but that’s perhaps true to real life.


The biggest issue is that the Lost Ember game presents itself as an exploration game. Sure, that’s fine, and the concept of taking over multiple animals to soar the skies and get in every nook and cranny is cool, but it is actually very limited in its controls and exploration. You are at all times guided by invisible lines and forces, making the game feel weak where you could have the ultimate control over characters. The story is good, but that’s about it. It’s more of a visual novel, and due to the lack of challenges if and when they are already present (press X to dodge while you are already used to smashing x), a lot of it makes no sense. The game could and should be more than just feeling close to nature and the ability to be an animal. Where are the real puzzles, or platforming?

The essentials of Lost Ember lie within running from point A to point B in a very linear fashion, even when up in the sky. At both of these points, you will activate a story cutscene, and then advance to the next level when you found them all. To add gameplay, there are collectibles such as mushrooms or artifacts to be found. These need to be looked for properly, but they don’t add much more than smooth satisfaction to a completionist’s scrapbook. The collectibles just feel like an ”easy fix” to add game time, instead of focussing on some gameplay that could add some value to the game.


Essentially, Lost Ember got everything in order except for the gameplay. Where the story contributes most to the game, the gameplay really lacks in making Lost Ember either a very good exploration game or a game that offers some more active gameplay than being stuck on a rail to follow the story. It’s a shame because there’s a lot of potential thrown away with the cool concept of shifting through animals and using them to achieve your goals.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Lost Ember - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for 3rd-strike.com since 2017.

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