Lost Ember

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Lost Ember Game Poster Image
Emotional take on both animal and human nature.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players begin the game with genuine intentions, and as the story progresses, the theme shifts in many ways to a tale of redemption.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game's main premise is to help a stranded spirit find its way to the afterlife. Along the way, as the characters regain their lost memories, a story unfolds that covers some of the best and worst qualities of human nature.

Ease of Play

The concept of the game is pretty straightforward, with players possessing other animals and using their unique abilities to bypass obstacles. But some awkward controls can make the experience more difficult than it really needs to be.

Violence

There are no enemies to fight and no real consequences to making mistakes and dying. While the story and some of the memories touch upon some violence in the characters' pasts, there's not much shown and nothing graphic onscreen.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lost Ember is an action/adventure game available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. Players take on the role of a wolf on a quest to escort a lost spirit to the entrance of its afterlife. Players have the ability to possess other nearby animals, using their unique abilities to bypass obstacles in their path. There's no combat and no real consequences to failing to hazards and other obstacles. There are some plot points that could be difficult and heavy for younger players, requiring some explanation and conversation with parents. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content included in the game.

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What's it about?

In LOST EMBER, the old world has fallen, and mankind is no more. Remnants of the once grand civilizations have been long abandoned and reclaimed by nature and all its creatures. According to legend, those found worthy found passage to the afterlife, while those denied were returned as animals, lost souls given another opportunity. You are a wolf running wild in this new world when you encounter a spirit seemingly trapped between worlds. To help guide this spirit to the afterlife, you're granted the unique ability to possess your fellow creatures, harnessing their special skills to overcome any obstacles you encounter. This is also a journey of self-discovery, as you and your ethereal companion unlock memories of your respective pasts, revealing a tale of loss, betrayal, and failure that has all led up to this moment … and a chance for redemption.

Is it any good?

Sometimes in games, as in life, it's more about appreciating the journey for all it is rather than focusing on how you got there. Lost Ember is one of those games, giving players a beautiful stage on which they're told an engaging story. More impressive is that it manages to do this in spite of clunky controls and some irritating navigation issues. There's not a lot of precision in the movement, but there's usually not a lot required. What's more frustrating is running into an invisible wall while exploring a game world that looks much more open than it actually is.

In the grand scheme of things, Lost Ember's technical issues are more minor nuisances than anything, only slightly dinging an otherwise wonderful experience. The game looks amazing, dropping players into a vibrant world that's teeming with life. Left to their own devices, the various animals move around and have their own personalities. Possessing animals gives players the opportunity to open their imaginations and visualize what life is like for these creatures. Thankfully, these lighthearted moments are around to help balance the weight and drama of the game's primary plot. As the characters' memories return, an emotional story unfolds about just how these characters were connected before the fall of civilization, and it's a harsh look at the full range of what humans are capable of. Overall, there are some deep themes touched upon in Lost Ember, and parents may need to help explain certain issues while opening up a discussion about human nature and how impactful certain decisions can be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about learning from the past. What are some ways that our past may shape who we are? How can a person overcome past mistakes to become better in the future?

  • What are some of the ways that certain animals can take advantage of their specific abilities to overcome obstacles in nature? If you live for a moment as any animal, what would it be and why?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

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