I’m usually not a fan of walking simulator games, but there are a few that really know how to stand out and pull you into something magical. In this case, Journey is the first title that comes to mind that I absolutely loved every minute of and couldn’t put it down. When I learned Mooneye Studios was working on a similar game called Lost Ember and you play as a wolf on top of that (because I love wolves in case you didn’t know), I knew I had to review it. While not as epic as Journey, it’s still a decent title to prowl and howl your way through.
You follow the life of a young wolf that used to be a female human in an era that looks to be hundreds of years ago. A floating spirit comes along (with a cool British accent) and tells you about the society you live in where good people ascend to a spirit realm while others are reincarnated into animals with you obviously being the latter. Your goal is to follow the spirit to new areas and explore glowing pillars that will explain your past and what you did and didn’t do to die and become a wolf.
Along the way you’ll also gain the ability to take over other animals such as moles to squeeze through small spaces, or birds that can fly high and fast to reach the next point to unlock more of your past. Thankfully since it’s a walking simulator, the controls are simple and work nicely as you move, run/fly and use the howl button to call your spirit buddy if you get lost and to access the memory areas when you’re close.
I had a good time playing this, as it’s a pretty relaxed experience where there’s no wrong way to play. You can’t die and there’s no rush to go forward, which allows you to play at your own pace. Some may not like this aspect of the gameplay, but I found it a refreshing change of pace after playing so many adrenaline-fueled action titles in my library. It’s also pretty linear despite appearing to be an open world game, which may turn some away with invisible walls being everywhere, but I enjoyed being able to focus on moving the story forward and not having to wonder where to go next.
The graphics don’t push any limits, but they don’t have to as they look great in their own right and fit the narrative nicely. The sounds are also pretty good as the sound effects, music, and surprisingly the voice acting is very well done, as your spirit guide and other characters during cutscenes sound great.
Mooneye Studios did a pretty good job making Lost Ember, as you can see and feel the Journey vibe as you play. While not as solid and epic as that title, there’s still plenty of beautiful scenery, cool animals to control, and a nice story to work your way through that will leave you howling in delight.