This title was reviewed on PS4, but is also available on Vita and Nintendo Switch.
Developed by Crim and published by Kadokawa Games, The Lost Child explores an ongoing battle between Heaven and Hell, with humankind caught in the middle. You play as Hayato Ibuki, an investigative journalist for the occult magazine, LOST monthly. As you explore supernatural mysteries throughout Tokyo, you are joined by the angel Lua who claims that Hayato is the Chosen One, singled out by God and destined to save the world.
The Lost Child is a classic dungeon crawler with elements of a visual novel, and it pulls these genres off well. Though exploration can be a bit of a slog, with maze like levels designed to confuse and test your patience, the actual combat within the game is well thought out and, at higher levels at least, needs to be approached tactically. As you progress through the game you add to your party by capturing and purifying demons – called Astrals – and then strengthening them. You are able to add to your team by capturing Astrals that you encounter, which ensures that not only are you facing a decent variety of enemies, you are also able to build a team with some variety to it as well. In order to match the level of your enemies you can strengthen the Astrals you have captured by using Karma energy that you collect through battles and important choices that your character makes. You are also able to swap around the special abilities of your Astrals by visiting a shrine – this means that you are able to develop your team to suit the challenges that you are going to face, whether that is the type of enemy you will be up against or the combat style and tactics that you prefer.
The cut scenes and character design in this game are really stunning and the anime style is utterly appropriate for the game genre. Somewhat disappointingly (though perhaps not surprisingly), The Lost Child tends to fall into the old pitfall of over-sexualisation, something that seems to be an unnecessary feature of so many anime styled games (hell, of so many games, period). But, I guess one thing will always be true; weeabos love their waifus. I suppose if you’re going to throw unrealistically proportioned women into your game, at least in this instance the art style is well developed and actually looks good; there are plenty of other games that can’t say the same. Sadly this well-developed style doesn’t really carry over to the levels, which tend to look overly simplistic at best and an undefined blur at worst.
Something that is interesting about this game is the very clear religious overtones. Now, I’m a Supernatural fangirl from back in the day; I’ve seen just about every religiously inspired plotline there is – The Lost Child does something that, though not truly unique, helps to bring more interest to what would otherwise be a tired and overdone story; that is the mixture of mythology present in the game. Throughout The Lost Child there are references to mythologies outside of the Judeo-Christian belief system; deities and demons from a variety of religions feature seemingly without taking issue to their different religious origins; even H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones like Cthulu make an appearance. The only battle these figures are fighting is the oh so classic ‘Good’ vs ‘Evil’, and the amalgamation of characters helps to develop the world and make it more interesting than the cliché ‘chosen by God’ storyline would suggest at first glance.
Overall The Lost Child is a decent game, though it’s nothing to write home about. For me there is nothing in this game that stands out as truly awful or truly brilliant. I don’t think this is a game that will evoke strong emotions, in either direction; you’ll either enjoy it, or you won’t. For me the highlight in this game was the occasionally hilarious bit of dialogue from one of the characters (usually one of the demons; go figure), and the well-designed anime style of the characters – overly generous chest proportions aside. If you’re a fan of stories with lots of mythological and religious characters, or a lover of the dungeon crawler genre, then this might just be the game for you.