This is Lost Ember, it's a fascinating adventure game where you shift into the bodies of animals in order to complete puzzles and uncover the many mysteries of the world. It has been trying to raise $111,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, which only just recently ended. I know you have a lot of questions about this game, so let's crib this.
What are the chances it hits that funding goal?
I would say it's pretty much a sure thing, since Lost Ember raised more than $350,000 before the Kickstarter campaign ended. That's well over triple what they were asking for, suggesting that people have really connected with the idea of turning into a bunch of animals in order to complete an open-world adventure. And it's easy to see why, because that's a pretty great idea for a game and the brief pre-alpha demo I played showed a whole lot of promise.
In case you're just now hearing about Lost Ember for the first time, it's going to be an epic journey where you explore the remains of a fallen empire through the eyes of a shape-shifting wolf. The goal is to explore a large, beautifully detailed open world and change into the various animals you run across. This will allow you to discover new parts of the world and solve puzzles that will uncover the many mysteries of the fallen empire. At least, that's what I got out of the Kickstarter demo.
What animals will you be able to change into?
All of them. Based on what developer Mooneye Studios has said, you'll be able to shift into every single animal seen in the game. The build I played didn't have many animals to choose from, but what's in there perfectly showed off the diversity you'll find in the finished game. We start out as our main avatar, a skinny grey wolf. He's prompted to follow a glowing ball of light throughout the world, introducing the wolf to the first animal he'll be able to shift into -- a mole. As a mole, he can dig deep into the ground and bypass obstacles standing in the way. And then when you're done with that shape, one push of a button will return our hero to wolf form. It's an elegant solution that is bursting with promise.
Anything more exciting than a mole?
Okay, I'll confess that a mole isn't exactly the most compelling critter in the animal kingdom, but it does help illustrate an important point. When you're done diving under downed trees and other objects standing in your way, you'll run across a flock of birds. This will give us a chance to explore the world from high up in the air as a parrot, giving us our best look at the game's gorgeous vistas. But that's where the demo ends. We're only given a taste of what is possible in Lost Emblem before it cuts to black and spits us back to the main menu.
Lost Ember suffers from a lot of the problems you expect from a pre-alpha build of a game. The animation is a little framey, the graphics aren't as crisp as you would like and the controls could be tightened up a bit. But aside from the predictable pre-alpha issues, this demo left me wanting more. There's a lot of potential in the animal kingdom, so I'm curious where they'll take this compelling concept. The demo may have lasted only ten minutes, but it left me desperate to see where it was headed. I'm looking forward to Lost Ember.