German indie game developer Mooneye Studios allowed me the honor to take a crack at Lost Ember, their debut game. This third-person adventure game takes you the adventure of a wolf with the ability to shape-shift into other animals as you explore lands once occupied by a civilization of people called the Yanrana.
As mentioned, you play as a wolf. But there’s more to that, the wolf in a past life was a member of the Yanrana people whose soul is not permitted to pass to the afterlife. Fate brings the wolf together with the lost soul of a long-dead Yanrana who needs help passing to the next life; these are known as “Lost Embers”.
The soul accompanies the wolf as the animal retraces its past life to uncover a way to help it pass on as well but along the way the wolf is granted a mysterious power that allows it to possess any creature it finds meaning that there’s more to the wolf’s past than it remembers.
Onto the game itself. The controls handle amazingly with the wolf responding pretty well. The control of the camera responds well too, making it easier for you to take in the scenery which leads to the next part, the art. The game is for lack of a better word, beautiful! At first glance, it may not look pretty like some other games but it’s beautiful and unique in its way. The colors in the game are quite vibrant and the shading and lighting add great depth to the open world around you. The environment reacts to the wolf’s movements, dandelion puffs break apart when you walk through them, leaves and tall grass bend in the wind caused by flapping your wings in bird form, etc.
The main mechanic of the game that adds to its beauty is the ability to possess other animals. Not only is it pretty cool but the purpose of it is that this helps the wolf get around when the environment throws obstacles in the way like large caverns, walls, and burrows. You can take to the skies as a bird, burrow under the walls as (what looks like to me) as an ant-eater, or roll through holes in walls as a wombat.
The voice acting in the game is decent but they’re able to sell the story to you and keep it enthralling and the soul companion helps narrate the wolf’s story. The soundtrack is amazing! You would think the music playing during normal gameplay would be this epic orchestral arrangement but it’s just soft techno-folk sounding which surprisingly matches the speed of the gameplay, it’s just relaxing.
Overall Lost Ember is just like the music, relaxing. Your main purpose is to explore the world around the wolf and to find clues about the past, may it be the wolf’s or artifacts of the Yanrana people that may help to unlock what happened to their civilization. This is quite an ambitious game and I felt it paid off in its execution. The art, the music, the story, all of it is just beautiful and a gorgeous escape. If there’s one game you should go right now and get for yourself it’s Lost Ember. On my scale of five starts, it’s a bright burning 5.
Lost Ember is out now on PlayStation 4, Steam, and Xbox One. It will be coming out for the Nintendo Switch at a later time.