Parents' Guide to

Lost Sphear

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Old-school adventure with mild violence, good role models.

Lost Sphear Poster Image

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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.

Game Details

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