A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Themes include friendship, responsibility, family, doing what's right in face of authority.
Positive Role Models
Playable characters have traits ranging from noble, friendly to mischievous, callous, but they all share a legitimate desire to do the right thing when it counts, even if it means making their own lives harder.
Ease of Play
Simple mechanics, three difficulty levels should make it easy for most players to create an ability-appropriate experience.
Violence & Scariness
Small, cartoonish characters use swords, spears, fists, bows and arrows, magic to attack each other. Defeated enemies disappear. No blood, gore. Injured non-player characters are sometimes found lying still, moaning, unable to move.
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Occasional occurrences of "damn," "hell" in text dialogue.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bottles of what appear to be wine, liquor line shelves, tables of inns players visit.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lost Sphear is a downloadable Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) with mild fantasy violence. Small, cartoonish characters with big heads fight each other using swords, bows, and magic, but there's no blood or gore, and defeated enemies simply disappear. Playable characters have a mix of personality traits, but all of them demonstrate the qualities of good friends and share the noble goals of helping others and doing the right thing, even at personal expense. Mature content is limited to sparing use of the words "hell" and "damn" in text dialogue and the appearance of wine and liquor bottles (which players can't interact with) in taverns.
Is It Any Good?
It may not appeal much to players obsessed with the latest graphics and innovative play mechanics, but anyone who pines for classic '90s role-playing games will have a lot of fun with this one. Lost Sphear leverages timeworn but proven JRPG design ideas. Players move about an overworld map by foot and ship and riddle out simple navigational puzzles in mazelike dungeons, then take breaks in towns and cities, chatting with non-player characters in taverns and houses to further the story and get a better sense of the culture and history of this fantastical world. While players are free to roam and explore as they like, they're rarely bogged down with more than one objective at a time, and all you need do to figure out where to go next is talk to one of Kanata's companions. It's a blissfully linear, focused, minimalist experience -- refreshing in an era of sometimes overly sophisticated games that can leave players struggling to work out how to play.
But this simple design does risk some dull moments. Combat involves strategy in terms of choosing the proper abilities and positioning on the battlefield, but it can become a bit repetitive as players use the same tactics to defeat similar enemies time and again. Plus, the weapon and armor system is a bit too rudimentary to satisfy. And while the main characters are distinct and likable, they don't shine quite as brightly as true icons of the genre. For example, it takes too long to dig into Kanata's backstory, and the main characters never establish the sort of emotional bonds required to make us really care about their relationships with one another. Even with these minor letdowns, though, there's something undeniably alluring about Lost Sphear -- at least for those with a taste for old-school JRPGs.
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Our Editors Recommend
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