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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.