Having a video game that lets you play as a furry critter from start to finish is not exactly a new concept. 2022’s Stray proved that there is indeed a market for this type of game and when done right, could captivate audiences worldwide with its charm and personality. With that being said, could Lost Dream: Darkness follow in the pawprints of Stray and entice audiences into going for yet another journey as a four-legged creature? Read on to find out.
Reviewing Lost Dream: Darkness was a unique experience to say the least. It was not loud and it was very relaxed in a sense, very much different from the usual games I play such as League of Legends or Baldurs Gate 3. The game did not tell me that I needed an objective to complete it just let me do my own thing, which was definitely different than going to point A or point B. With Lost Dream: Darkness it was more to like following a feeling and acting purely on instinct similar to that of an actual animal.
Keep Moving Fur-ward
Right from the beginning, your fox is thrust into the game in the dead of night with the only indication of what to do being told through a text message that appears occasionally at the bottom of the screen. These text messages are vague and keeps players guessing throughout and are open to their interpretation adding to the overall games immersion.
The game is described as a walking simulator and it definitely nails that aspect flawlessly as majority of the game involves you walking for distances following your gut searching for some form of progression or purpose.
The main mode did not take too long to complete however, as by the 30 minute mark I have seen the game through to its conclusion. The journey itself could be seen on the surface as to be rather pointless due to the fact that after completion, the game just abruptly ends and put you back into the main menu.
However, I can’t help but wonder if that was the underlying message that the game tried to convey, the message being, “the search for ones purpose or direction is a brief and uneventful one and we will always continue to search for a different direction in life moving forward.”
Being a walking simulator, admittedly there was not much gameplay to go through but strangely enough I never felt bored during my time with it. Playing through those 30 minutes of game time, most of it had me thinking about what the world was actually about and how the journey of my fox could symbolize my journey through life as well.
The world that the developers at Morning Shift Studios created is intricately beautiful and eerily desolate as well for better or worse. The lack of fauna specifically other animals on screen makes the game dead quiet other than the occasionally chirping or birds or rustling of leaves as you tread through the environment as your fox. This definitely captures the feeling of strolling through the forest quite well as the sounds inside a forest would be quite mute, especially in the dead of night or early in the morning.
I definitely would see most players wondering exactly what was the point of this game, as other than the fox occasionally telling you that you are nearing your objective with its text message, It makes no attempt to tell you what to do or where you should be going other than explore and find progress. With that being said, I do appreciate its simplicity and calming ambience for what its worth and exploring the world was definitely intriguing.
What Does The Fox Say
Your fox is definitely a silent protagonist with little to no lines of dialogue, however the game does have environmental noises that help set up the overall stage and really helps draws you in to its environment and world despite you not knowing much about it at all in the first place. It’s difficult to properly ascertain why I found the game quite entrancing, but I believe its definitely due to its overall visual presentation.
The game itself does look good, and has a pretty unique character model of the fox which reminds me of the old Atlantis cartoon characters that had blue streaks of light just running through their entire being. It looks great and in certain moments the game does impress with its visual presentation despite it running on the Nintendo Switch.
Not only that, it also ran at a pretty impressive 40-45 fps which is commendable as the environments are all preloaded in and I encountered no pop-ins during my time with the game.
One minor oddity I found however was with rocks that had more angular geometry, the fox that you control simply cannot find its footing and instead just nose dives straight through the rock and slides off shortly after. It did not affect my overall gameplay experience, but it did felt like something that needed to be said as well.
As an indie title, Lost Dream: Darkness does manage to deliver well above its asking price. While admittedly it lacks the interactivity and the personality of Stray, the sense of calm it delivers through its audio and very chill-relaxed kind of gameplay style makes up for it. Besides that, the game itself is relatively cheap with it costing USD3.49 (MYR15.47) for the Nintendo Switch version.
The game itself is boring in most parts as it is just a walking simulator, but despite that I personally enjoyed playing through it and learned to appreciate a much quieter and slow-paced game.
In any case, finding an audience for this game may be difficult as it really is not for everyone. I believe that fans who loved Stray would appreciate it more so than others. While it does not hold in the same regard as Stray, there is still a game to be had here if you stop and think about it. The game itself while boring due to lack of interactivity or any form of action, does not overstay its welcome with its very short but meaningful duration.
I believe with more interactivity and a clearer sense of direction and multiple methods of traversing environments to reach said destination, I believe Lost Dream: Darkness could climb new heights (or at least a rock) and maybe capture the hearts of audiences much like Stray did back in 2022.
|Wish there was more world building
|The art style is good
|May get boring due to lack of interactive elements
Lost Dream: Darkness is on PC and Nintendo Switch. You may find further details regarding the game at their official steam page.
Lost Dream: Darkness was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, review code provided by Publisher.