[Lost Words: Beyond the Page]Lost Words: Beyond the Page Review | Game Rant

  Underneath Lost Words: Beyond the Page’s gorgeous surface is a simple take on dealing with grief that misses the opportunity for a deeper meaning.

  By Brittni Finley

  Published Mar 30, 2021

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  Death is a difficult topic to tackle because everyone looks at it through a different lens. Everyone’s had their own experience with death, some of them being that they’ve never experienced it at all and therefore can’t truly sympathize with the feeling of loss. Many indie games attempt to discuss death, but when it comes to?Lost Words: Beyond the Page, it’s difficult to say whether or not it grasps the topic well or if the game only embraces it with shallow efforts.

  Lost Words: Beyond the Page?is the story of Isabelle and the strong relationship she shares with her grandmother. After receiving a journal and commencing her first story, Izzy creates a world that is seemingly meant to run parallel with her own. The gameplay is largely inspired by 2D side-scrolling platformers but without any of the stress.?Lost Words?will never be stressful the way most platformers are because it’s about the story, but this also means that the obstacles are always easy to overcome and simply need to be performed again and again to proceed. This is only one of the ways?Lost Words: Beyond?the Page?does a strange dance: its innocent charm is also where its biggest flaws?lie.

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  Not unlike the neighboring indie game?If Found…, players will start off in?Lost Words?on the blank pages of Izzy’s notebook by jumping the small avatar from line to line. After learning about Izzy’s life and her grandmother, players will get to help Izzy craft her protagonist by choosing her name (here she was named Georgia), clothing color, and iconic characteristics. However, while this opportunity allows the players to feel as if they’ve entered Georgia’s shoes when her story begins, the various choices the player makes are deceptive and have no bearing on the story itself.

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  Lost Words’ story will swap back and forth between Izzy’s real world and the one she’s created, Estoria, which has fallen to a dragon. Now, Georgia must seek out the fireflies and stop the dragon from destroying the world. It’s clear here that Georgia is meant to represent Izzy and Elder Ava is her druidic grandmother, but the events that take place in Estoria struggle to tie themselves to the turbulence in Isabelle’s real life, creating a hole in the amount of investment a player would otherwise hold when playing?Lost Words. Elder Ava is clearly Gran, but Ava has little to no significance in Georgia’s story, making the two worlds feel disconnected where they should be windows into one another.

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  Still, what the game?tries to do is impressive and unique.?Lost Words: Beyond the Page?swaps between Izzy’s real life, where players will discover events by jumping across words and solving some minute puzzles, and Estoria, where Georgia wields a book of spells to get herself past obstacles. These puzzles are basic but innovative?nonetheless. Over the course of her story, Georgia will learn new words that each have different effects,

  On the flipside,?Lost Word: Beyond the Page’s story of death and dealing with loss is predictable. From the moment Gran is introduced, it’s not difficult to foresee the beginning, middle, and end of the plot. While that isn’t a complete miss, the problem is the game fails to meet the expectations it sets forth by having two stories running parallel to one another. Estoria fails at acting as a symbol of Izzy’s life and Georgia’s problems lack any real meaning. Her quest to return the fireflies and confront the dragon bears little stake in the real world and therefore risks the player becoming uninvested in her problems.

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  lost words beyond the page

  While it’s clear that Georgia getting helplessly lost while searching for the dragon is a metaphor for her depression and struggle to confront her gran’s passing, this short indie game nearly makes an excellent point about dealing with grief that it never quite arrives at. At her disposal, Izzy has a journal with which she can divulge and confront her pain. However, while Georgia tackles the dragon head-on, Izzy’s confrontation with grief is glossed over as she falls into the escape behind her own story. What helps Izzy overcome the grief of her gran’s death and onto the acceptance phase isn’t clear.

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  If the dragon, constantly looming over Estoria, is meant to represent death, it doesn’t quite hit the satisfactory nerve that symbols should. This can be observed with a number of elements in Izzy’s story, like Lump, a childish ball of fire who introduces a new puzzle-solving spell that guides Georgia through the fog of her depression, and the sudden genocide of the seakin, a race not unlike The Legend of Zelda’s Zora.

  lost words beyond the page

  Death is a complex topic to make the centerpiece of a story because most audience members will have a different takeaway. This narrative will likely hit most players differently. While Izzy seems to overcome her grief somewhat quickly, perhaps because she’s a child,?Lost Words?also waves away most of the complexity that comes with death and loss that many players will have experienced.

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  While?Lost Words?portrays the experience of loss from a younger perspective with a stunningly talented voice actress, but in the end, what’s left is the story of a girl traveling through the five stages of grief. Though?Lost Words: Beyond the Page?attempts to reach beyond that is still a touching story, most of the?depth in this gorgeous indie game?is blocked by rudimentary symbols and adolescent cliches.

  Lost Words: Beyond the Page will release on PC via Steam, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One on April 6, 2021. Game Rant was provided a Switch code for this review.

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  2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)

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  About The Author

  

  Brittni Finley

  (764 Articles Published)

  After growing up with Pokemon, Kirby, and Animal Crossing, The Elder Scrolls’ fifth installment of Skyrim changed her life and she’s been an avid gamer ever since. If she’s not tending to yet another new farm in Stardew Valley, find her hunting for used 3DS cartridges or looking for the next hit narrative indie game.

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