3.25 out of 5


  • Touching story
  • Navigating between worlds
  • Return after completion
  • Watercolors


  • Buggy objects
  • Character movements underwater
  • Firefly counting help

Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Modus Games
Sketchbook Games
Action, Adventure, Platform
File Size (Minimum)
5.9 GB
Release Date (NA)
Apr 6, 2021

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is a narrative adventure indie game told through a journal of a little girl named Izzy. The narrative game revolves around both Izzy’s real world experience and her fantasy world of Estoria. As you follow Izzy’s journey, players will confront sensitive topics such as death and the emotions that follow it. While traversing Izzy’s worlds, players can expect to run into troublesome snags in the game when navigating around objects. However, players will want to move forward to see the game’s ending.

Inspiring Writer

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Screenshot

Izzy’s journal was a gift from her grandmother, Gran. While writing in her journal, players can move an avatar resembling the little girl. Using playful words such as “unlock” and “clean”, players can move the word across the journal to create special effects, move objects, or uncover imagery and additional words based on Izzy’s narrative. Additionally, players can interact with the imagery in her journal such as a pie and mushrooms, making the dialogue more interesting than simply reading it like most games.

Before entering the world of Estoria, players are given multiple choices to dictate their main character in the fantasy world. For example, you choose the character’s name and dress color. While playing in Estoria, you’ll be given a new set of choices that dictate how the character feels, such as “angry” and “cry”. There’s no wrong answer in these moments, per se. The dialogue only changes for a short period of time.

An Adventure Awaits

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Screenshot

In Estoria, you’ll play as a little girl that’s visited by a firefly, a Legend of Zelda-like scenario. She gives the news to her village’s elder, Eva, who resembles Izzy’s grandmother. After meeting Elder Eva, you are now the new guardian of the fireflies that protect the village. You’re also given a magical book that can use words to help initiate items in the world of Estoria. For example, in opening your new book, you can pull the word “rise” and use it to help open the gate to leave the village.

Unfortunately, things aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. A dragon has attacked the fireflies and the village being protected. Without the fireflies, the village is on the path of extinction. With a goal set, you set out to chase the dragon and retrieve the stolen fireflies. While the narrative of the story of Estoria isn’t going to win a Newbery Medal, give it some slack; it’s based on a little girl’s first written story.

Pulling Your Heartstrings

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Screenshot

Izzy’s real life experience touches on many sensitive topics regarding life and emotions. While starting off on a happy note with loving memories of her family, things take a turn when her grandmother is sent to the hospital. Players will see Izzy’s thoughts and emotional journey as she tackles Gran’s deteriorating health: the negative emotions toward the doctors and toward her own parents, and experiencing the sadness of death.

Izzy’s emotions are emphasized in her fantasy tale. While enraged by her grandmother’s health, a fire guardian appears in the fantasy world, a manifestation of Izzy’s emotions of hatred and misunderstanding. Later, the story picks up the pieces, giving Izzy the realization that it’s okay to feel these emotions and that her memories will always be cherished.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Screenshot

As you explore, you’ll encounter lost fireflies spread across Estoria. The majority are hidden away in tiny areas that can easily be seen or that require some movement around the screen to see them. Of course, seeing them and actually getting to them are different. Additional work, such as moving objects back and forth or climbing higher than required, is sometimes needed to collect them.

While the game displays a notification to let you know how many fireflies you’ve retrieved, as well as the final count for that area, it only appears when you nab one. Having this information always be visible on screen or at least shown in the pause menu would be helpful.

While it’s not necessary to retrieve all 120 fireflies, it does unlock a trophy and achievement for you PlayStation and Xbox players. Some fireflies are missable, but levels can be returned to after completing the game. Therefore, don’t sweat it if you miss them the first time around.

Put Your Words to Good Use

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Screenshot

The game’s mechanics lets players pick specific words, based on the story event, to interact with the objects around you. For example, using the word “rise” can lift gates and pillars so that you can continue walking. Some words stick around in your book for a few areas, while some disappear after exiting the area.

Objects that glow indicate that one of your special words can interact with it. Your little firefly cursor, which was bestowed on you at the beginning of the game, will aid you with such interactions.

Jumping and maneuvering around objects feels a bit stiff, though. Jumping onto certain areas can be annoying as the game’s hit boxes (the invisible boundaries of objects that determine and detect physical contact with other objects) feel off and buggy at times. For example, while exploring the labyrinth underwater, the game’s mechanics struggle to let you make a small jump to a platform to retrieve a firefly. Meanwhile, in a new area below, players can easily jump to another platform to retrieve another firefly. Sometimes, you just have to walk away, come back, and try again, and it’ll magically just work.

Also, in the labyrinth, the word “rise” is used to push players up in the water to maneuver around the rocky paths. As the screen moves, players will have to move their cursor to avoid moving their avatar around the screen by accident. Doing so makes it tricky, and in some areas nearly impossible, to go back up if you slip up.

At times, some areas have minor bugs with other hit boxes that can create cheap deaths. The positive side is that the game does not have stock lives and that you can re-do an area as many times as you want. There are no action battles here, except for the lava chase against the fire guardian. Even in that chase, the game gives you time to open the book to initiate words to help you escape.

Sadness with the Right Color

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Screenshot

The narrative game’s journal uses various color wheels to dictate Izzy’s narrative. When discussing the night, it’s mostly black and white with vibrant colors such as purple and blue. During emotional times, the color palette is in the grey family. Many illustrations drawn in the journal are filled with a creative use of watercolors textures, giving each page life and energy.

The game’s soundtrack, composed by David Housden, is orchestrated and plays according to the narrative’s mood. While most of the scores are soft and slow, it captures the atmosphere in both worlds. One of the fast-paced scores does a good job adding energy in the chase between the fire guardian and our hero.

The Last Word

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is an interesting tale between a little girl’s experience with life and death and the fantasy world to which she escapes. The game’s mechanics are unique but suffer some bug issues along the way. Even so, Izzy’s story is compelling enough that you’ll want to keep going in order to see how it ends.

A PlayStation 4 provided for this review and gameplay footage.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page - Gameplay Footage (Captured on PS5)

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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