Game Review: The Lost Child (Nintendo Switch)

NIS America’s latest outing on the Nintendo Switch is another visual-novel-themed dungeon-crawler known as The Lost Child; but what did we think of this rather unheard of experience? Well let’s take a look and find out!

Title: The Lost Child
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Kadokawa Games / Crim
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: English & Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (3.2 GB)

Our View:

Developed by Crim and Kaadokawa Games, as well as localized and published outside of Japan by NIS America, The Lost Child is visual-novel styled dungeon crawler with the traits of a traditional Japanese role-playing-game.

Taking place in modern day Japan The Lost Child follows Hayato Ibuki, a journalist for the Occult Magazine LOST, as he attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the numerous suicides occurring within the city in order to create articles for the magazine he writes for. However during his investigations Hayato soon finds himself recruited as the “chosen one” by the angel Lua who states he has been chosen by god to put a stop to the mysterious suicides and in turn the dark presence that is surrounding Japan.

This is the prelude to what will seemingly be a never-ending visual-novel come dungeon-crawler experience that will either ignite your passion for the JPRG fandom or make it deteriorate. From my experience of this game it is the latter, as while The Lost Child offers an interesting premise and a relatively solid gameplay experience it is riddled with questionable storytelling, mediocre character designs and unimaginative menu designs that will ultimately leave you confused and a little bit disappointed… well it did for me at least.

For me The Lost Child is one of these experiences I wanted to enjoy but was ultimately let down; which is a shame as The Lost Child features some nice traits and a full English voice-over with some notable voice actors lending their talents to key characters within the game. Naturally if an English voice cast does not cater to your needs then you’ll be glad to know that The Lost Child does feature a Japanese voice-cast; however with the ‘Americanised’ artwork the English voice-over does suit the characters the voices are trying to portray.

So; complaints aside how does The Lost Child play? Well for the most part the visual-novel styled dialogue will progress the story along, with dialogue portions introducing players to the characters of this unique under-populated world (I say this as character models are repeated in the numerous locations) as well as being used to find out more about the mysterious events occurring in the world.

In this case players will accept a mission on the notice board on Hayato’s desk in the LOST Magazine office; after which players will be required to select a location in the city (and country) of Japan to investigate. This method of travel is always used to go to the Shop, Bath House and Office; all of which are key parts of the game in order to enhance your character and team but these locations will also grant access to the ‘RPG’ element of the game and the investigative visual novel element. By talking to the characters in these locations players will unlock new areas to explore as well as uncover more details surrounding the mysterious events occurring within the country.

The disappointing aspect of these novel segments is that not only are they not always voiced-over, which is not exactly uncommon for a visual novel styled game such as this, but the same characters (in the same outfits) appear in different locations around the city (bizarrely with blood on them as well). It’s not entirely made clear as to why, but some potential explanations are given the further you progress forward.

Alongside this investigative visual novel element we have the traditional dungeon-crawler experience whereby the player will navigate (in first person) through labyrinths of different sizes – each of which will feature an entrance/exit, a save point and a boss room. These labyrinths, of which are officially known in this game as layers, will see the player randomly encounter monsters (demons, or Astrals if you prefer) of which will ignite a battle. In this case the enemies will appear on screen in front of you and the player must command their team to defeat the enemies.

The interesting aspect of The Lost Child is that the player are able to use the Gangour, a weapon given to Hayato by another Angel during the opening portion of the game, to not only attack these enemies but capturing them for use in battle. That’s right; just like in Pokemon (or Pocket Monsters if you prefer) you can capture enemies and recruit them to your team.

Captured astrals can then be strengthened by using experience orbs earned as part of battle; but to make things ‘slightly’ more interesting these experience orbs have to be of the same ‘type’ of the astrals you are trying to strengthen – with multiple different types existing including Fire, Dark, and Water. Personally I didn’t notice much difference but it’s said that using dark experience orbs on a dark astral will see them level-up faster. In hindsight it’s just another feature to make the capture and level-up process that much easier and a bit more interesting.

Overall The Lost Child plays and acts like any-other dungeon-crawler come visual-novel experience that I have had the privilege of playing; but the difference here is that those other experiences were more entertaining. Maybe it’s the story, how it’s presented or just the overall style of this game; but it just doesn’t resonate with me and deliver the gaming experience I had hoped. A shame really as The Lost Child does offer everything you could want from this style of game – and with this Nintendo Switch version it means that the long-winded-hours of exploration can be done both at home and on the go.

Score: review-stars-3

The Lost Child is now available as both a physical release and digital download with Europe for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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