Atmospheric, Turn-based Brilliance
As the first game developed by Jiffycrew, Lost Pages: The First Cycle is a homerun. This turn-based, rogue-like deck builder sucks the player in with its unique artstyle and engrossing story. The monsters are a cross between Rick and Morty and Final Fantasy. It’s a pairing I didn’t know I needed. Each battle felt dramatically different. The game begins with smaller enemies whose grotesque cuteness lures the player into a false sense of security. By the first boss battle, the cuteness factor dissipated, and the difficulty increased. The monster in front of me appeared as an archangelic eyeball whose attacks came down with divine wrath. One of the prime reasons players will keep playing is to experience each of the game’s exclusive characters.
Furthermore, players will continue through each of Lost Pages’ five acts to reveal more of its story’s poignant rollercoaster ride. The game’s immersive tale develops a wonderfully creative lore behind the creation of the moon. Consequently, the story provides one of the most interesting elements of the game. In order to reveal more, players must complete each of the five acts under a variety of difficulty levels.
The introduction to the story hooked me. However, more of the story isn’t revealed until completing easy mode in its entirety. This is a trend for Lost Pages. I became frustrated when I completed hard mode but didn’t learn more about the story. In order to access the next difficulty, and subsequently, the next cut scene, players must receive a perfect grade on their gameplay. However, this mechanic actually increased my interest in the game. It caused me to learn the systems in place, play the right cards at the right time, and master the ways each element works together. By the time I reached expert mode, I felt like I could take on anything the game threw at me.
Lost Pages: The First Cycle shines through the inventive way the cards work together. The foundation of the game relies on various elements: fire, water, earth and air. These elements coincide with damage and defense types. At first, I didn’t notice exactly how well these elements play off one another. I won battles without thinking about what cards I played. However, I quickly learned this is where the compelling story and difficult-level mechanic come into play.
More of the story is revealed after completing a difficulty level. The only way to complete this task is by learning how the cards work together. Boss battles are nearly impossible to clear if the player doesn’t learn how to play their cards right. For example, while in the midst of the final boss battle on hard difficulty, I found myself with only two health points to the monster’s 100-plus. This would seem like an impossible task to complete. By this point, I learned the secrets of card coupling for maximum results. This allowed me to play several cards that saw my damage output triple and my shield increased to over 100. This made for a nail-biting battle ending with my victory, saving the same two health points.
The most exciting part of each battle comes from the cards the player receives randomly from those collected throughout each act. Due to this randomization, the gameplay’s excitement increases, specifically when the player receives a card they desperately need in the nick of time. Everything Lost Pages: The First Cycle throws at the player makes it more and more important to learn the mechanics. Nothing in this game is without purpose, and only serves to increase the player’s desire to learn and play more.
The Final Word
Lost Pages: The First Cycle has everything fans of turn-based deck builders would want. Fascinating enemies, a compelling story, and perfect interplay between cards collected led me to dive deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Battles never felt frivolous, and I never felt like I was just going through the motions. This is all without even diving into the maps for each act. This element adds even more to the level of strategy required.
Each map provides battles to fight, events to build your character, markets to purchase card upgrades, and relics to provide deck boosts. All choices lead to the final boss battle. One can be-line it for the boss, but they might not be fully prepared for the battle ahead. I often found myself traveling all over the map simply to keep the game going, but also, to collect HP, coins, and more cards to assist in the final battle.
There is too much content to this game for one review to cover it all. Whether you are a fan of deck builders or not, you owe it to yourself to check out Lost Pages: The First Cycle. It is an addictive thrill ride that keeps players coming back for more. I know I will be playing it for the foreseeable future and am thankful to have experienced such a gem of a game.
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