Originally released as a rare exclusive for Google’s short-lived games streaming service Stadia, Lost Words: Beyond the Page has since gone on to be a hit on PC and Switch, and is now at last available on iOS, iPad and Mac.
A unique narrative adventure, it’s a game which manages to match its solid storyline with equally beautiful watercolor-style graphics.
The game centers around the diary of a young aspiring writer named Izzy who has concocted a magical fantasy world called Estoria while dealing with the five stages of grief surrounding her parents’ divorce.
It's all split into two separate gameplay modes. One takes place in Estoria where you’re tasked with becoming the new guardian of the fireflies and protecting the fantasy kingdom, while the other brings you back to Izzy’s real-world diary.
Making your way through sumptuous 2D levels of platforming, the game cleverly uses the thoughts and ideas from Izzy’s adolescent diary, with players needing to walk on words from the journal and use them to solve a variety of puzzles and interact with Estoria’s envornments.
A unique game that deftly deals with love and loss
Despite the game’s sad subtext, Lost Words: Beyond the Page, is an optimistic and upbeat experience, with its casual, interactive story style gameplay arguably suiting its new platform better than PC and console.
Poignant and pretty, much of the game’s many high points come from the clever way veteran games writer Rhianna Pratchett has managed to weave the story-within-a-story narrative of love and loss, ensuring you’ll want to play Lost Words: Beyond the Page through to its conclusion and find out how Izzy’s relatable story ends.
For those who want to try before they buy, the first two chapters are available to play for free, with the remaining six chapters unlocked through a one-time in-app purchase - something we suspect most players will be more than happy to pay for once they’ve peered into Izzy’s diary.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist.
He started out as a music writer in the late 1990s, before moving to the Daily Mirror to become the newspaper’s technology editor, during which time he wrote a weekly column that saw him chart the boom of consumer tech and gaming as well as the resurrection and rise of Apple Inc.
He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards.