Lost in Play is an upcoming puzzle adventure with an adorable and expressive visual style that makes it both immediately recognizable and utterly unforgettable.

Take a look at the game’s trailer, posted on the developer’s Twitter account.

Lost in Play tells of a sister and a brother who are, quite literally, lost in play. I recently had the pleasure of accompanying the two siblings through a short demo of their adventures, where I discovered a magical world full of puzzles and childish wonder.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Israeli indie studio HappyJuice Games is made up of two game artists and a developer who also worked on the point-and-click adventure The Office Quest. As you’d expect, Lost in Play’s art and animation take center stage, and it shows.

The game’s hand-drawn visuals are simply stunning. The characters and environments are colorful and vivid, full of small details or subtle animations that help them feel more real, despite their cartoonish look. The siblings’ room is especially impressive with how the toys, books, and clothing scattered around hint at future adventures.

Lost in Play preview

The two main characters convey a range of emotions and ideas through animation alone. Their exaggerated expression and movements fit right in with the game’s “Saturday morning cartoon” look and vibe.

Speaking of expressions, I was really amused by the game’s voice acting. The characters only talk using unintelligible sounds, yet it’s somehow still clear what they mean. There’s a pattern behind the gibberish. For example, the girl makes a “tick-tock” sound when examining an alarm clock, or a “cuckoo” sound when trying to wind a cuckoo clock. This level of attention to detail really adds a lot.

Child’s Play

The Lost in Play demo starts within a dream – the best place to showcase the game’s themes of imagination and creativity, and to introduce the player to the puzzle mechanics.

The main characters convey a range of emotions through animation alone

The game combines classic inventory-based puzzles (use item X on item Y) with mini-games and puzzles. Those found in the early parts of the demo aren’t very inventive, although they are still fun and even challenging at times. While the puzzles aren’t very unique in their mechanics, they still retain the game’s distinctive artistic direction. Even if you played similar minigames in other games, this one adds a fresh coat of paint, so to speak.

Solving these puzzles and minigames, and playing Lost in Play in general, is very simple – you just left-click on anything you want to interact with. It’s clear the game is trying to be as intuitive as possible, perhaps to appeal to gamers of all ages. Frankly, I think it succeeds in that endeavor.

Lost in Play is very easy to pick up and play, and its visuals, while cartoonish, can be appreciated by everyone. If you think this is a game just for kids – think again. The puzzles do get trickier further into the game, and they should pose a challenge to adults and kids alike.

The game’s straightforward interface only means it can fit on more platforms than just the PC, and I can definitely see myself playing Lost in Play on a tablet or Switch using the touchscreen.

The puzzles are familiar, but retain the game's distinctive artistic direction

The Power of Imagination

One of my favorite things about Lost in Play is how it shifts from the “real world” to the inner world of imagination. The final chapter of the demo sees the brother hiding in the woods from a terrifying monster; A monster that is actually his sister wearing a cardboard box on her head.

But to a kid, imagination is everything, and we quickly see the little girl transform into the hairy beast. From that point on, the demo takes place in the realm of make-belief. We meet all sorts of weird creatures, and the difficulty level goes up a notch with more classic inventory puzzles, which I personally prefer. It was then that I really started to enjoy the game.

Unfortunately, that was also when the Lost in Play demo ended. I took a sneak peek at the game’s chapter selection, and it seems that we’ll be spending a lot more time in this whimsical fantasy world, which I’m all in favor of.

Lost in Play looks to be a promising point-and-click adventure, with imaginative and stunning visuals. I’m looking forward to getting lost in the game’s depiction of childhood daydreams, solving puzzles, and going on an adventure. Fans of the cute, the whimsy, and the magical should follow.

Lost in Play will arrive first on Steam and consoles in 2021, but HappyJuice Games are planning a mobile version soon after.

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