It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.
“The following is a contributor post by the Midnight Mystic Mage.”
I always love getting the chance to review a game that I really enjoy. I would like to start by thanking Kadokawa Games, NIS America, and of course The Well-Red Mage for providing me with a review copy of the game. It is a bit surreal for me personally when I am able to play a game and review it before it is available to the general public, so thank you guys for making that a reality for me.
The Lost Child is a JRPG with animation in the art style of Japanese anime and it wears its Lovecraftian influence on its sleeve. You are able to capture demons and fallen angels and then battle with them much like Pokémon but in more of a party vs. party system, à la Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, rather than one captured creature vs. another. You are actually able to evolve the monsters as well which I thought was a special touch, there are 3 levels and the monster drops back down in strength and level once evolved each time but can be built up much stronger than was possible previously to each evolution.
The Lovecraftian elements are virtually everywhere. Ranging from the Shoggoths and Deep Ones which can be captured and trained up to battle with, to the location known as R’lyeh Road, which fans of the mythos will notice as a reference to the underwater city that holds the great old one, Cthulhu. They also include Cthulhu and Dagon as evil deities in the game with Cthulhu wielding the power of wood and Dagon being the master of the water. There are also many mentions of ancient texts, insanity, and all the other things that we Lovecraftians love to see in a work that draws inspiration from his writing.
You play as Hayato, an occult journalist, who runs into an angel named Lua, who looks more like the anime version of a lady in a sexy witch Halloween costume. The two of you proceed to learn about areas called layers that are infested with demons, fallen angels, and the like. Once you enter into these realms they are played out in an anachronistic dungeon crawler sort of fashion, which I personally really enjoyed, but I can see how it would not be for everyone.
There are different elements to the gameplay such as the investigation aspect where you talk to the different townspeople to gain information, the battles in which you test the skills of your monsters as well as Hayato and Lua, and the exploration of the layers amongst other things. I felt that the battles were the strongest of all the areas of gameplay, the leveling up of the monsters and characters works very well and I enjoyed the different skills that you are able to use and learn.
Speaking of the battles I must touch on the Gangour which is sort of the central weapon wielded by Hayato. It is both the most powerful attack (at times), which causes Hayato and all monsters to attack at once, and the only way to capture more monsters all at the same time. If you are able to defeat the monster you attack with the Gangour then you will have captured it and be able to use it in future battles if you swap it into your party. That is of course after you purify it which is a process that takes some of your points which you use to level up your characters. The Gangour has to charge up to be especially effective although you can use it regardless of how charged up the meter at the top of the screen is.
There are a few different stores and locations that you are able to make use of during your journey. There is the spa that grants you certain temporary boosts for a price, the bookstore is the main spot for all of your potion type items and other important things, the spot where you are able to evolve your monsters or swap moves between them, and of course the office where you can go to save and check out your current quests. The office is not the only place that you are able to save, but you can not save just by pausing.
There are certain areas in layers where you can save but there and the office are about it, so anytime you see an opportunity to save it is always worth it to go ahead and do it just in case. Luckily with the Switch, you can just hibernate the screen and go back to where you were, provided that your wife has not snatched it up to play Stardew Valley without realizing she was ruining your progress, of course.
The battles throughout the game are of greatly varying degrees of difficulty. There may be a few battles that you roll right through with no problem while basically just mashing the A button to attack until the battle is over. While other times you may have to carefully and strategically plan each move with each character before taking your turn in order to rise to the challenge. You will have to consider which characters are strongest with combat, magic, healing, while also taking into consideration their elemental strengths and weaknesses.
There are various elements that each monster may have such as fire, wind, wood, or lightning etc. You can use the Gangour with Hayato at the beginning of your turn to bring out your strongest monsters and swap them out with your current crew. This surprisingly does not take away a turn for Hayato which was helpful in the more intense battles. It is also worth noting that Hayato and Lua are not able to be swapped out of the starting lineup.
The 8-bit Review
The layers are an interesting concept and a unique way to explain the dungeon crawling areas of the game. You are walking through what is basically demon- or fallen angel-infested areas that are revealed to you through research and your angel friend Lua. I like that you are an occult journalist and there are some really well-written areas of the dialogue that I found interesting, funny, or emotional depending on the mood that had been set. There were also areas that were seriously corny and cheesy, but I am all good with a little bit of corniness here or there as long as it does not overrun the entirety of the game.
There are things in this area that were done very well and others that I felt were overlooked. I wish that when you gave your characters different hats, shirts, or weapons that it would actually make a difference in the animation somehow. Instead, everything about them stays the same and you can’t tell whether they are wearing the flameproof boots of doom or the roller skates. This was one area that I felt would have been a great improvement for the game.
I was also pretty disappointed with some of the drawings of the demons and fallen angels. First thing was when I saw the Shoggoths and Deep Ones. I just kind of had to go… “What?” I didn’t understand the depictions and they were vastly different than anything else I had seen of them before. There were quite a few that left me feeling this way with just very strange depictions. Not all of them were strange-looking however and a great deal of the animation was actually done very well.
This was a really great high point for this game in my opinion. I loved the callback to old-school dungeon crawlers that you get in the layers, as well as the very well-done JRPG battle element. It really is a joy to level up your monsters and main characters while they learn new moves and, in the case of your monsters, become strong enough to evolve and move onto a whole different level of strength even if you have to build them back up from the bottom. It takes elements I always enjoyed in the Pokemon RPGs and integrates it into an entirely different setting. Gotta catch them all! With the Gangour!
This game dumbs it down for you but doesn’t make the instructions so blatantly repetitive and annoying that it takes away from the gameplay experience. I had no trouble figuring out what I needed to do next and there are always different routes you can take as well if you tire of your current journey. All of your quests can be tracked at the office from your desk so if you forget what it is that you are trying to do with your current mission or where it is that you needed to go, all you have to do is take a quick trip back to your desk to get yourself lined back out.
Family Friendliness: 6/10
There are some suggestive drawings of hot anime chicks which is great but also makes it a little less friendly for the kids. Not to mention all of the demons and monsters which could easily frighten some of the younger children that might try to play. That being said if your kid does not have an overwhelming fear of any kind of monster drawings and things like that there really is not too much that is very bad in the game. The suggestiveness does not go much further than being scantily clad and the monsters are really only still drawings and do not do much that would be overly frightening.
When you make it to Elder Gods or big demon bosses or whatever they are called, it really does become quite the challenge. You will find yourself multiple times being sent back to R’lyeh Road and having to buy back your life in order to give it another shot and come back with a fresh strategy. If you do not stock up on enough supplies while you are outside of a layer, you can really get yourself caught in a pickle as well. The further in that you get, the more monsters will show up at one time and if you don’t have enough magic points to use your healer or herbal potions to save your main characters, then you may end up having to start from a previous save and give it another go with a fresh approach.
I feel like JRPG games have a great amount of replay value because of how many different things you are able to do with your crew. There are so many different demons and fallen angels that there is no way you can train them all up in one playthrough. You will always be left wondering what it may have been like if you had a slightly different crew of monsters and what the ones that you left alone might be like when trained up properly and evolved.
My Personal Grade: 7/10
Nothing wrong with a good ol’ 7. This is a game that I would recommend to people who enjoy the some of the various styles of gameplay it withholds. The game is not without its flaws and quirks, and I definitely would not just blab on about it to everybody because it is a bit of an obscure style that I do not believe many mainstream gamers would enjoy. If you like dungeon crawlers, JRPG combat, anime, or are just a fan of games that give some love to the man H.P. Lovecraft, then I would without a doubt urge you to go ahead and give it a shot.
The Nintendo Switch is a wonderful platform for this game for a few reasons. First of all, the Switch is just a fantastic platform for most any type of game in my opinion. Beyond that, it seems to be a good version with a minimal amount of bugs that I was able to catch. There was only one time that it froze up on me and this could be due to other circumstances not having to do with the actual game itself.
The price was admittedly more than I was expecting for this game. I would have guessed that it would be closer to 20 or 30 dollars rather than the 50 that it actually costs. I am not saying that you do not get enough bang for your buck because I have definitely been getting plenty of playtime out of it myself. There are quite a few areas to explore, tons of grinding and leveling up to do and just all around a lot of game to play. So I will leave it to you after reading my description whether this seems like a price that you are willing to pay for this solid JRPG/Dungeon Crawler.
Aggregated Score: 7.0
The Midnight Mystic Mage is the resident writer of sublimereviews.wordpress.com, a reviewer of games, books, and film, and a fan of all things horror and spooky. Follow the link… if you dare!
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Categories: Game Review