Lost in Harmony

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Lost in Harmony Game Poster Image
Sweet musical adventure has no rhythm.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While the stories are light on plot, both still center on characters running away. While one is running towards his goals, the other is running away from his problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The gameplay and plot don't give much in the way of character development, leaving them as little more than plot devices to move the game along.

Ease of Play

Gameplay combines two different style of play (button matching and hazard avoidance) into one package. This is particularly frustrating when the controls clash, forcing a conflict, making it impossible to play smoothly.

Violence

Players use the controls to avoid obstacles that pop up in the player's way. These include everyday objects and crazy attacks coming from all sides. No graphic violence ever shown.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lost in Harmony is a downloadable musical rhythm game available for Nintendo Switch. The game is a port of the mobile version, adapted with new controls to take advantage of the Switch hardware. There are two distinctly different stories, one with a futuristic sci-fi flavor and one grounded more in present day reality. Players must match onscreen prompts while avoiding obstacles, all in time with the game's soundtrack. The game can get difficult and frustrating due mainly to an awkward presentation and control scheme. Violence in the game is minor, and usually involves avoiding crashes with obstacles or hazards.

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What's it about?

LOST IN HARMONY is a story about how we cope with our emotions, as well as how we live and dream our own inner symphonies. The game features two distinct tales, one of characters running to escape their feelings and the other featuring a character with something to run towards. In both cases, players guide these characters along their paths, dodging whatever stands in their way, building to a rhythmic crescendo by moving and reacting to the beat of the game's soundtrack, with notable contributions from singers and composers such as Wyclef Jean, Onoken, Tadayoshi Makino, Fumitake Igarashi, and Godspeed Vivix.

Is it any good?

Many rhythm-based video games try to move to their own beat while still keeping a bit of a familiar tempo, but this one seems to be full of bad notes. Lost in Harmony attempts to put together a mash-up, mixing elements of the rhythm genre with some of the play of an endless runner. This formula might have struck a harmonious chord on the game's original mobile platforms, but it quickly goes out of tune after making its jump over to the Nintendo Switch. It can best be described like trying to play a jazz saxophone solo on a snare drum … it's just not the right instrument for the job.

Admittedly, Lost in Harmony's presentation is gorgeous. The art style is visually stunning, and the animations are smooth and fluid. The game's soundtrack is also mesmerizing and easily the best part of the experience. But the minute you actually start to play the game, everything falls apart. The quirky camera angle on the screen, with the characters running toward the player instead of away, makes it difficult to judge distances and anticipating jumps. Add the button mashing rhythm to the mix and you almost need an extra set of hands to play properly. Unfortunately, you quickly realize that playing two different game genres at once simply doesn't work when the styles clash. More than once, trying to dodge an obstacle while timing a beat proved to be impossible. It's an irritating frustration that only gets worse as the game goes on, taking away any chance of enjoying any positives the game has to offer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about escaping problems. What are some of the ways that people cope with emotional issues? Why does it tend to be easier to run from problems than to face them?

  • How can music influence our activities? How do our actions influence the music we listen to?

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For kids who love music

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