TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Lost Words: Beyond the Page’

I love when narrative-heavy games can blend their storytelling with gameplay in really unique ways. I mean, I love games that are almost exclusively about the story with very little interaction at all, and I love games that are focused entirely on gameplay with story elements barely there to string things along, if they’re there at all. But there is something really magical when a game can find that perfect middle ground between those two extremes, and that’s just what Lost Words: Beyond the Page seems to do so well.

This is a game that launched on consoles and PC a couple of years ago, and earned all sorts of recognition at the time for being unique in a gameplay sense but also for its fantastic storytelling. However, this is one of those times where I’m going to say that this is the type of game that almost feels like it was designed for a touchscreen, and this new mobile release of Lost Words might be where the experience feels most at home.

That’s because part of the premise is that you’re exploring the diary of a young girl named Izzy, and you’re literally platforming your way through her thoughts and ideas as they appear as words on the page. Oftentimes you’ll need to rearrange those words to create platforms for your character, and dragging those around and placing them with your finger feels totally natural.

What is Izzy writing in her diary? Well she’s coming up with a fantasy story, a grand adventure that she can read to her grandmother who isn’t doing so well in the hospital. Much of the game is seeing Izzy’s thought process as she comes up with new ideas and characters for her story interspersed with her own real life events and inner thoughts. The adventure starts out as cute sketchbook drawings but can transform into a fully realized, absolutely gorgeous, fantasy world.

It’s this sort of story-within-a-story construct that makes the narrative in Lost Words so powerful and memorable. Izzy’s own real life situations inform her writing and there are interesting parallels between her adventures and those of the character in her story.

The pay model Plug In Digital has gone with for this mobile release is also quite pleasing, as the entire first 2 chapters are available for free with the remaining 6 chapters unlocked through a one-time IAP. You can test drive this experience with no risk and I think for those who enjoy this type of game you’ll have decided to unlock the full thing well before those first 2 chapters are over.

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