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Lost Words: Beyond the Page review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Modus Games
Developer: Sketchbook Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

It’s always nice when a video game flows as well as Lost Words: Beyond the Page does. It’s about 4-5 hours long, but thanks to the way every scene seems to naturally lead into the next, it feels like it goes by much faster than that.

Given its pedigree, this isn’t a huge surprise. It was written by Rhianna Pratchett, who isn’t just the daughter of legendary fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, but also a pretty accomplished game writer in her own right with a list of credits that includes games like the rebooted Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge, and Heavenly Sword, among others.

Lost Words’ structure itself also lends itself pretty well to that kind of flow. It’s the story of a young girl who builds a fantasy world with her grandmother, only for her grandmother to fall ill. Rather than cutscenes or discrete levels, however, the whole thing is presented as a diary, where the main character cuts from real life to the fantasy world and back again, and she runs across the page as the story is told. Seeing as we’re almost literally talking about a book, it makes sense that it would flow pretty smoothly.

Mind you, the trade off for that flow is that the game isn’t a huge challenge. There are plenty of environmental puzzles to be solved, but they pretty much all involve picking the right words in order to progress — whether it’s stepping on the right highlighted word, or picking a word like “repair” in order to fix the path ahead. There are only a couple of places where you’ll need to pause and think about what you’re doing.

But, I mean, that’s kind of the point of any good fiction, right? If you’re actively taken out of a story by thinking about the mechanics of it all, then the story hasn’t done a great job of hooking you in. Lost Words may not be the greatest fiction you’ll ever read, but it will keep you hooked from the first to last page, and in this case, that’s enough.

Modus Games provided us with a Lost Words: Beyond the Page Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+