Lost Words Beyond The Page - Story, Gameplay, Visuals & Audio Review

Originally released as a Google Stadia exclusive last year, Lost Words: Beyond The Page is a heartwarming puzzle narrative that finds its way to consoles and PC this week. While its puzzles leave a lot to be desired in terms of challenge, its message and story leave a worthwhile memorable impression.

Lost Words  Beyond The Page story

Lost Words is like two stories in one. You play as Izzy a young girl learning to deal with loss and grief in a situation that most players will be able to relate to. All while this is happening to her, she's writing a story as a coping mechanism to let out her feelings. In her story, you play as the protagonist living in a magical kingdom of fireflies. Sadly peace in the kingdom doesn't last because it's interrupted by a giant dragon. With the kingdom under fire, you seek to track down this ferocious dragon and gather your stolen fireflies.

Lost Words: Beyond The Page Gameplay

While Izzy plays as our narrator, it's impressive to see how well written her commentary is. After all, the writers behind this game are obviously adults but they're able to convey the feelings of a child going through loss incredibly well. We see that commentary in the form of a journal that Izzy keeps where we hear her deepest thoughts on what's going on in her life. Those thoughts are paired with magical effects that react to her strongest emotions. At the same time, we jump into Izzy's fictional story that reflects what's going on in the real world with magical elements. 

Woven together, the two pair up wonderfully and show an honest depiction of a child going through loss. Very much like its story, Lost Words juggles two gameplay types between its two stories. While in the real world, you play as a representation of Izzy within her journal's pages. It's presented as a straightforward and incredibly simple platformer. As Izzy narrates her thoughts and what's happening, the playable representation platforms over the words, occasionally stepping on keywords that change the landscape of the journal. In other moments, break-out words will appear that can be rearranged to solve blank sentences and as platforms themselves.

This is about as far as the puzzles go for this particular part of the game. While it works, it feels like it could have been fleshed out a bit more to provide some challenge or at least be more thought-provoking. When the game does jump to its other half, that's the magical kingdom story, things do get fleshed out to some degree at least. In these sections, you control the protagonist of Izzy's story as she uses a magic spell book to warp the world around her. Like the journal, this world is also presented as a platformer only now we can use magic. The magic comes in the form of words that react to the blue highlighted objects in the story. For example, the rise word lifts objects while the break word tears them down. These are used to get around obstacles and while it was a change of pace from the journal moments, it doesn't flesh out very much either.

It would have been great to see moments where we combined words for puzzles or just got more moments where the correct word wasn't so apparent. Maybe an option to use different words for branching paths. There's just a lot more that could have been done to keep the gameplay part interesting but I'm also aware this a game focusing more on story and emotion than its gameplay. For what it's worth, its mechanics are fine. The story is truly what is the focus here and that's the real reason you should pick this up.

Lost Words Beyond The Page Visuals

Playing my review copy on PC, the combination of platforming and controlling word platforms with my mouse felt right at home in terms of controls. Lost Words isn't an intensive game by any means so even though I didn't get a chance to try it on console, I wouldn't think this would have trouble running on something like the Nintendo Switch. With that said, Lost Words looks beautiful. When in the real world, you can see the progression of Izzy's journal over time. Her desk becomes distressed as the events of her story unfold.

Little details like that help the story feel like a real-world that's developing as the story unfolds. In the other half of the game, you traverse lovely-looking backdrops across all sorts of different terrains. There are a lush forest, sandy desert, and firey cave filled with molten lava. These areas are beautifully animated, presented in a 2d view but with plenty of action layered up in the background. Much like its story, it's magical.

Lost Words Beyond The Page Audio

Lost Words cast does an impeccable job at pushing this heartwarming narrative. Izzy's actress can convey her despair, her hope, and most importantly her confusion in what's going on in her life so perfectly. I think for a story to take on a child as their protagonist, so many factors could have gone wrong in the writing and in the performance. However, that's just not the case here and ultimately I feel like it's the performance here that helps sell this story as a believable interaction in this situation.


Ultimately Lost Words: Beyond the Page is an extraordinary vignette into how loss can affect a child and how one of that young age deals with such a topic. Its gameplay is alright, it's incredibly simple and lacks any challenge but what it does excel at is interweaving its story into gameplay. Sadly I don't think that's enough to carry the whole 4-hour game but if you're not turned off by it, you'll be rewarded with a wholesome and more importantly, honest depiction of this life experience. 

Post a Comment