Review: Lost Epic (Nintendo Switch)

Our platformer du jour is Lost Epic. It feels rather epic (I did get lost at some points), so the title seems appropriate. You are one of the last of the knights willing and able to fight the gods and save the world.

This is a Japanese release, so you will need to be good with subtitles. The only real downside is the text is not quite as large as I would like. The voicework is all spoken in Japanese but the subtitles hang around until you push the A button, so you have plenty of time to get the information you need and to look at the game and take in your environment.

Review: Lost Epic (Nintendo Switch)

Since the game is mostly an adventure platformer, it doesn’t require a lot of story elements to move things along. Even so, Lost Epic comes with an interesting backstory and some engaging characters with which you can interact. Some act as narrators and way-point guides, but they are not just boring signposts. The Elder god is gone, and six new gods have moved in. Your task is to destroy them. To do this, you will need to destroy lots of minions (and not the denim-clad yellow pills—some of the ground troops you face are pretty nasty in their own right).

Lost Epic does a very good job of giving you something nice to look at. For a platformer, there is a good use of color and form. There is plenty of detail without trying too hard to look photo-realistic in a fantasy world.

The audio is mostly very good. The sound effects and voice work are well done. The background music is good and doesn’t distract from the experience. The only issue I have with the sound effects is with the footfalls; they do change a little based on the type of ground you are on, but they are always a bit clicky and the cadence feels awkward.

As more experienced gamers will suspect, the controls are not very complex. The left Joy-Con stick is for the left/right and up/down action. The B button will either be a regular jump or a drop if you’re pulling the stick down. The attacks are all on the right side, with Y being the standard attack, X the strong attack, and Y unleashing a divine attack. Each attack will cost a bit of your stamina, so keep your eye on the stamina bar at the top left of the screen. Two other rather important buttons are ZR, which is the dodge/roll, and the L shoulder button, which knocks back a healing potion to restore hit points (keep your potion stockpile up – you’ll need it). One other nifty feature of the dodge/roll maneuver; when you are using your dodge skill you are basically invulnerable, but you do use some extra stamina.

Lost Epic also comes with the requisite leveling up and gaining of new weapons and skills. In this regard, the game is more complex than you might expect from your garden variety platformer. The skill tree comes in the form of a book of “tidings.” There are twenty pages of skills and attributes you can improve in whatever path you want. As you wend your way through the game, you will also have the opportunity to get new weapons and to collect resources to improve your current weapon. Not only are there minerals you can use to enhance weapons, there are plants you can collect to make potions, etc. Actually, there are rather a lot of different kinds of things you can collect and use, so be prepared to spend some time experimenting and exploring.

As you destroy enemies, you collect little red crystals of anima. This is the currency of the game, so collect as much as possible. There are also some treasure chests, standing stones, and even fallen logs which are hanging around just waiting for you to give them a good whacking so they can give you some anima. When you get to a shrine, you can exchange anima to level up. If you die (and you will), all of the anima you were carrying drops on that spot. If you can make it back to the drop spot, you can reclaim your collection

When I started looking at the skill tree and lists of things you have and can make or enhance, it was a bit overwhelming considering this is “just a platformer.” But with the story elements and the extensive set of areas you can explore, Lost Epic is designed to be more immersive. Once you get into it, the game is really very engaging. Even the basic running around and killing things can be enough to keep you moving onto the next area for hours. I started playing on the console and had to stop because I got the low battery warning. I went from full charge to re-dock and it didn’t feel like anywhere near that much time went by.

There are a couple of odd things which bugged me about the game. There is a start-up menu where you can choose to continue your current game or start a new game. There are multiple game slots, so you can play more than one of the several characters available. The annoying part is that the only way I have found to access this menu is to close the software and restart it. If there is a button or combination of buttons to get to this menu, I have not been able to find it. The other annoyance is the intro scene. If you do start a new session so you can select a new avatar, you have to go through the movement tutorial and the intro scene all over again—there is no way to skip this.

Still, with its well-developed story, copious action and exploration, attractive visuals, and easy-to- use controls, it’s easy to get past these annoyances. One thing I really appreciated was that, especially for a platformer, Lost Epic does not rely on pixel perfect jumps or grabs to be able to get to where you need to be. You do need to be careful with timing and targeting with these maneuvers, but the game is a bit more forgiving than a lot of platformers I have played, so props to the developers for requiring skill without demanding utter perfection.

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