Games in which we have to get into the shoes of the real wild animals do not appear so often. Only the series come to mind Shelter Yes Life of black tiger – judging by one only trailer, the worst game for PlayStation 4. Even before the release of "Life of the Black Tiger" a small German studio Mooneye foresaw that the world would be sorely missed by good games where we manage animals, and in 2016 launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter for Lost ember.
The right amount of money, 100 thousand euros, was collected in just two days, as a result, the backers supported the game three times more than expected. The foundation for an independent team of five was laid very good. It only remained to meet the expectations of the public. There were certain concerns about this, because Lost ember Is a debut project Mooneye studios. The company employees went after their dream: they quit office work and founded their own indie studio. Creative freedom is a good thing, of course, but did the Germans manage not to get drunk from it and not let their backers down?
In the animal world
Tie Lost ember unpretentious: in a deserted world, the talkative spirit-light finds a she-wolf who understands him and asks her for help. The light really wants to get out of the forest and get into a certain City of Light, but it is not allowed by the barrier. The she-wolf, although she cannot speak humanly, but with all her behavior makes it clear that she does not mind going on the road and helping a new acquaintance. Over the course of their journey, the couple will gradually recall the past and restore bit by bit the history of those places along which its path passes.
To delve into the plot wilds means to ruin the whole intrigue: let completely different things be paramount in the game, a strong emphasis is also placed on history. I can’t say that it struck me with its depth (it is quite unpretentious in itself, even with all its unexpected turns), but there are touching moments in the plot and some special tenderness to nature is felt.
This very tenderness is felt not only at the plot level. The study of locations is full of nuances, for which the game can not help falling in love. We control a graceful she-wolf, we study with it and Spark fields and forests, caves and abandoned buildings, deserts and reservoirs.
Red pillars of smoke point the way and lead to a new memory. However, due to the fact that the biomes themselves are quite large, it is not always clear where to go next: smoke is simply not visible.
The world is full of all living creatures: wombats run in the grass, hummingbirds hover over the flowers, birds soar in the sky, and fish splash in the water and ducks swim decorously. You can move into each of these creatures by approaching a fairly close distance. Our she-wolf is not as simple as it seems – she turned out to be a "soul-mate" and is capable of moving so easily to other creatures.
The game for each of the animals, of course, varies. Parrots can fly and quickly overcome long distances, buffaloes smash small obstacles with their foreheads, armadillos dig ground and, due to their small size, can fall into places inaccessible to other animals. Here you can even become a slow tortoise – however, exploring the world for it is not particularly fun.
Each of the animals has its own optional actions, which add Lost ember even more charm. Someone can fall on a barrel or lie down, folded under their paws, someone eagerly grunts with the berries found, but my favorites are wombatics who can roll around the earth carefreely, like Sonic the hedgehog.
Well, isn't it cute? It remains only to start up the music from the Green Hill Zone. Or Limp Bizkit – Rollin`, as you like.
Wolf and seven beasts
Reincarnation in other animals is the only way to get into places inaccessible to the she-wolf. You can return to your original form at any time, the main thing is that the support under your feet is – in the deep sea or high above the ground, turning into a wolf will not work. Finding the right beast for further advancement is almost the only task that the developers set for the player. Yes, and “search” is too loud a word. The desired animal, as a rule, lives exactly where its abilities are needed – a family of armadillos will live near the wall under which it is necessary to dig a course, and on the edge of the cliff it will certainly wait for the flock of birds to fly.
IN Lost ember there are no tricky puzzles or hostile animals. “We want players to move around the world at their own pace, without interrupting their gameplay with a fight, too complicated puzzles or death in general,” the developers on Kickstarter explained. Only unsuccessful acrobatics can pose a threat: all animals, except the mountain goat, after falling from a slightly higher ledge, are expected to darken the screen and return to a hard surface. At first, this is a little annoying: the distance does not seem large, and from the experience of other games I want to quickly cut it off. But over time, to a leisurely pace Lost ember you get used to it.
In the game you can meet rare representatives of certain species of animals. True, nothing but a white glow, they do not differ from their counterparts.
Lost ember was supposed to be released this summer, but you yourself know how often they postpone the launch of creations from Kickstarter. The extra time probably went to the developers' benefit: in ten hours of passing, I came across a very small number of bugs. A couple of times the animals got stuck in the walls during reincarnation in tight places, and once the bird soaring down found itself outside the map. All these problems were easily resolved by rolling back to the nearest conservation point, since they are often located here.
Since the game is primarily dedicated to walking (running, swimming, flying) around the world, its research is encouraged to find all sorts of secrets. In secluded corners, animals discover mushrooms that are added to the player in the collection. In addition to them, many optional artifacts telling about the past of the fictional people of Janran are scattered (and sometimes well hidden) in locations.
You can return to collecting collectibles even after completing the storyline by selecting the desired chapter from the menu.
Lost ember – Not a very long meditative journey through the fascinating world of wildlife, a kind of walking simulator in the role of an animal. The game about the she-wolf and her talkative companion is designed to relax as much as possible after a hard day's work. There is no challenge in it, no artificially created trials – only a leisurely study and history that unfolds against the backdrop of picturesque landscapes. Not everyone may like this format, but if you suddenly want to get distracted by something that is as relaxing as possible, then Lost ember will be a great candidate. And she is a good example of the fact that a team of only five people can create a decent game.
Minuses: the story is too simple and unpretentious with all its common truths from the category “Violence breeds violence”; minor bugs like stuck in textures.
Pros: detailed landscapes, constantly causing admiration, and their charming inhabitants (wombats and little ducklings will remain in my heart for a long time!).