Mooneye's Lost Ember was a successful Kickstarter game that started in 2016. It won numerous Indie awards when it was being shown at trade shows, and just recently released on Steam. It will be releasing on other platforms and once it does, Mooneye has promised a PC VR update that is already in test now. Truly believe that a VR addition would be great based on the game's visuals, but with the way the game handles I could see a lot of motion sickness for the beginning VR fans.
The game starts out pretty generic with a glowing orb seeking help from anyone or anything before it finds Wolf. He, the orb, is trying to figure out that why he has not been allowed to enter the City of Light after his death and believes he finds his body and is seeking the help of someone to guide him to the proper Afterlife. Unfortunately for him, the body he finds is not his, but of a woman named Kalani.... the Wolf.
The game has an interesting puzzle mechanic as you traverse through the numerous levels. You are what is called a Soul Wanderer, a soul who can push its way into other lifeforms and control them. Your default form is the Wolf, but expect to get into numerous animals to bust through walls, fly through the sky, dig into the Earth, or even be a firefly or little grub. There are also 6 Legendary animals to find, and they are seen as bright white animals, some off the beaten path while others are visible for miles. Obtain their presence, and you will get that Legendary check off your list.
There is no death or combat in the game. If you fall off a cliff, run out of space to glide down as, or stand in something you should be in, you will teleport back to the spot prior to it occurring. It works pretty well, but I did fall off a few areas that glitched me in a forever fall loop. A good safety catch, but it does require more developer review to address. Game breaking problem? No, it only happened twice in a full playthrough.
The story unfolds as you see what happens in Kalani's life and all the misery she had befallen. You will observe why she was banned from the City of Light and how she and the orb make amends in their own story to allow them to open the gate and go inside. You are left to your imagination on what occurs with Wolf, but the ending kind of breaks the intro story line if you have a keen eye. I will not ruin the story, but watch for it near the end.
The game has collectibles in it and each Chapter will tell you how many were collected and how many there are total. This is great as you can go back through those sections and pick them up to get your completionist achievements. Some are hidden pretty well and it took me a few tries to seek them out. I am sure in a matter of days videos will spawn for their locations as PS4/Xbox people will need their Trophies.
There are Trading Cards available in the Steam version, so you have plenty of extras to collect.
The game will take about 3 hours to complete, around 6-7 if you try to gather all the Collectibles and Extras. It is a beautiful game that runs on the Unreal Engine. It has the odd Unreal stutters as it hits some checkpoints and the Chapters menu is so common of many of the Unreal Tech games like Gears of War, but it is not enough to detract from enjoying the game itself.
Some who do not like Puzzle/Walking Simulators may not enjoy this, but there are many other games of similar genre that I have reviewed that may draw you to this one. A lot of what I saw in The First Tree ( https://www.someawesome.com/game-review/sabre-fox/first-tree ) was done in Lost Ember as well. I also had a few issues where the lack of a proper map or compass has me running the wrong way a couple of times, just do not let the orb make you feel like he is guiding you in the correct direction.
If these types of games interest you, then you will not be disappointed! Also, as a side note, I was not a Kickstarter Backer. I only found out about this game as it popped up in my Steam Suggested Games.
Below were some of the beautiful areas of the game I decided to pull out.
The game utilizes both Keyboard and Controllers very well. I suggest a Controller, but I had no difficulty playing with a Keyboard/Mouse setup
Very stylized and in a lot of cases gorgeous. There are some areas that looked bland and the camera pulled out too far to see you were on a giant square.
The VO would get a 7 as it was nothing special. It lacked some emotion at times and was reminiscent of listening to your Ghost talk to you in Destiny. The music however was fantastic. I considered purchasing the Soundtrack that is available on Steam, but the cost is pretty steep for a digital soundtrack.
For those who want to collect everything, the option is there as well as easily to figure out where you missed something. I will return to this after a VR patch to see if it is worth that as well.
PROS / CONS
- Soul Wandering
- Watching the story play out
- Story was easy to figure out within the first Chapter
- Some odd framerate stutters
- Lack of a compass or sense of direction