This hit indie game makes its way from Steam to the Nintendo Switch with mixed results. The narrative of a little girl struggling to accept the loss of her grandma is heartfelt and should make any gamer cry, yet I cannot ignore the sloppy controls and the boring run to the right gameplay that ruins the experience.
In this innovative walking narrative, you use the power of words from your journal to unlock puzzles. If you are blocked by a large stone, simply select the word “break” to destroy it and clear the way. This mechanism is brilliant and holds the game together. However, we are stuck with level design that feels like something out of a bad 90s game.
The music, voice-over work, and art design soar in LOST WORDS, but the real reason to play it are the journal sequences where the main character writes her feelings about grief. While she does this you control a fictional character who runs over and selects the words on the page. These moments are where the heart of the narrative shines as we experience loss for the first time. It’s devastating and shows why video games are art.
If you can suffer through some awful-level design and want to support an indie game, you can do a lot worse than LOST WORDS. It's not quite the page-turner it strives to be and one can’t help to wonder what would’ve happened if this game spent more time perfecting the gaming elements and less time on the story.
It’s available on Nintendo Switch.