If you have ever played any of the SMT or Shin Megami Tensei games with their heavy focus or biblical and Babylonian lore and apocalyptic themes, then you’ll be right at home with The Lost Child by NIS America as it has many of those same aspects as the SMT series from capturing and evolving monsters to a war between Heaven and Hell with Angels that aren’t necessarily good and Demons that aren’t necessarily bad.
The Lost Child starts you off as occult magazine journalist Hayato Ibuki as he is tasked by his employer, LOST, to investigate the strange instances of suicides that have been happening lately in Shinjuku Station. Amidst his investigation he is pushed by a black shadowy being onto the tracks of the local train transit and within moments of nearly being killed, Hayato is saved be a gorgeous girl named Balucia and is handed a chain linked case that should not be opened. Some time passes and we are then introduced to the angel known as Lua who was tasked aiding the Chosen One who just so happens to be Hayato, in the midst of this they are attacked by a demons known as “Deep One” disguised as hooded individuals. Hayato opens the sealed case and grabs the Gangour, captures them and then learns how to use them. Afterward Lua informs Hayato that she is searching for her missing sister Balucia. Where is Balucia? Why did she disappear? Why is Hayato the Chosen One? This story will have you wanting to learn the truth of these questions and more!
So you may be wondering why I spent so much time to explain the plot of the game; well the reason is because this story is so deeply layered that you have to know what the foundation is because from there the twists and turns that will occur and I strongly IMPLORE you to make note of all the small things you’ll notice as they play a major role later on as the game closes in on its final hours.
Graphically the game is stellar with a very Shonen Anime style look to all the characters that is very reminiscent of SMT and MT with still images of the characters that have moving mouths and blinking eyes when speaking and idle. For many this may be something they’d consider lazy but if you’re unfamiliar with where this games inspiration comes from then I can understand why you would come to that conclusion, however, I would ask that you simply enjoy this experience as it is because it is truly an experience and the characters are so full of life. The voice acting is very spot on for every character in the game from your rough and gruff boss at LOST to the mysterious and very creepy item shop keeper to the lustfully sexy yet naïve angel Lua. The voice actors for this game nail every line and delivery!
Diving into the gameplay, if you’ve ever played any of the Megami Tensei series or SMT games then you already know what to expect as you’ll be doing a lot of dungeon crawling and demon capturing and in the vein of Megami Tensei you’ll be doing all this from a first person perspective with very atmospheric music and ambience to match the tone of the creepy locales you’ll be exploring. As you explore the dungeons you’ll see that you map will expand as you explore the Layers (dungeons of the game) and you’ll find many doors that will require either a key or will need you to press a switch to open.
When in battle the perspective will stay in first person view ala Dragon Quest and Megami Tensei and you’ll have the option to Attack/Defend/Item/ and with Hayato specifically you can use the Gangour to capture demons to add to your party. When you capture a demon (or Angel), you’ll have the ability to purify them to be able to add them to your active party, when swapping characters around, both in and out of battle, it drains the battery of your tablet so keep that in mind.
Since Your demons do not level up from battle as Hayato and Lua do, you’ll need to EVILvl them by giving them the karma that you receive from battle to level them up. Certain abilities are made available depending on the type of Karma that you use so do keep that in mind.
As you explore the dungeons, and often time after battles, you’ll come across chests that you can open to receive various items and get gear for Hayato and Lua. There is a caveat that comes with attempting to open these chest as every chest has a dual meter that lets you know if you’re close to opening it or if you close to triggering the trap. Some of your demons will have the ability to lower the trap gauge or ever clear the trap entirely at the cost of MP allowing you to go ahead and open the chests for the spoils.
When not in battle you’re able to move about your world map and check out various locales and cities and talk with different people (many of whom you will notice have odd blood stains on their clothes but I’ll leave that for you to find out why that is.) and go to a bathing house to get various buffs, a shop for different items and nic nacks, and a location where you can swap abilities amongst your demons and evolve them to new heights after they have hit their level limit. Most of your time will be spent at LOST talking to your boss to get new clues or checking various memos at your desk for tips on what areas to investigate and different occult mysteries to explore. At Lost you’ll be able to save your game as well and I highly recommend you save at any point that you can, even in dungeons, because you never know what monster you will run into that will destroy your entire party in one or two hits.
In wrapping up this review, there was so much that I wanted to just gush about because I truly love this game, however, given that this is a game that is very old school and in and of itself very niche I am very aware that it is not for everyone and I do fear that many who have no experience with the Megami Tensei series or Shin Megami Tensei series will be ones who will not get much enjoyment out of this gem along with those who also do not care for a lot of reading and, at times, aimless dungeon crawling and prefer to have cinematic experiences to cater to their preferred format of games. Those who do have experience with the aforementioned series and have a love for old school JRPGs and dungeon crawling will love this game and I personally have found nothing but joy in this title, newcomers will find a lot to love here and I think this game could be the start of a great new franchise and I commend Kadokawa Games, Crim, and NIS America for making such a STELLAR title that I implore you to not miss! You can purchase The Lost Child on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PS Vita June 19th 2018. This game is KASANOVA APPROVED!