Published on July 14th, 2014 | by JC Richardson0
Lost Toys Review
Barking Mouse has won a heap of accolades for their stunning design work on Lost Toys, so let’s take a look under the hood and see how this intricate puzzler plays out.
There’s no doubt that Lost Toys looks amazing, with its models described with deliberately shabby, faded hues of chipped paint. And these toys aren’t just lost – they’ve been twisted into unrecognisable forms by persons unknown. It’s your job to re-arrange their muddled pieces back into their original shapes, whereupon life is suddenly breathed back into them and you see the toy in its untainted glory. It’s like playing with a misshapen Rubik’s Cube, and many of the principles of play echo the frustration and satisfaction of these most 80’s of puzzles. Vague memories from my youth actually helped solve the problems in Lost Toys, weirdly.
The entire tone of the game is one of meditative contemplation, with its gentle, unhurried pace and ambient piano melodies making it almost relaxing. Almost, anyway, as I know I’m not alone in finding Lost Toys darned difficult to finish: I feel that success in this game world depends both on the players’ frame of mind and their comfort with spatial awareness problems. The player really has to visualise the pieces of the puzzle and their potential moves, and this isn’t easy when it’s not always obvious what the finished toy is actually meant to be, especially on later levels.
Lost Toys has an ‘Unlimited Mode’ where players can take as many moves as they like to complete a puzzle, but the ‘Standard Mode’ makes this more of an actual, linear game with a set amount of moves available for each toy. Looking at some of the puzzles induces a ‘where the hell do I start?’ feeling when told you can do it in four moves, but I actually found this the more satisfying of the two play modes.
Barking Mouse have created something beautiful and unique in the gaming world, making this worth a look anyway, but fans of the more cerebral puzzlers will get a lot of mileage from Lost Toys.
Summary: Lost Toys is not only a beautiful, engaging experience but a gnawingly difficult puzzle too. It won't be to everyone's taste, but it's deeply satisfying and well worth the cover cost.