Lost Dimension might look like just another Japanese role playing game at first, but it has a few surprises in store that set it apart from the rest. It’s those aspects that intrigued and entertained us, so read on to find out more.
First released in Japan back in 2014, Lost Dimension finally comes to Europe later this month after its American debut at the end of July. The art still is still distinctly Japanese though – with all the spikey hair and anime influenced you’ve come to expect. In this particular adventure, you’re part of an international elite team of specialists with superhuman abilities – in your case, a form of mindreading. As this team, titled S.E.A.L.E.D, you set out to defeat “The End”, an appropriately named bad guy who resides at the top of a giant structure you have to climb floor by floor, doing battle along the way.
These battles are a combination of tactical planning during the team selection and battlefield placement phase (you can’t take your entire team into battle at once) on the one hand, and making the right choices in the midst of turn-based combat. Overcome your foes, and you move onwards and upwards. It’s the moments where you’re about to head to the next floor that really intrigued us though. “The End” has told you that one among you is in fact a traitor, and it’s up to the team to decide who gets voted off and killed before moving to the next floor.
The concept is full of suspense, and feels a bit like a thriller/mystery novel. Aside from the first level, you rarely have much to go on. You can use your psychic skills to probe the minds of your teammates, but pick the wrong ones during any given level and you’re still wondering who the traitor is. As you progress, more teammates betray the team, and it’s up to you to figure out whom. Because of this, you’ll pay extra close attention to the game’s dialogue – even in mid-battle, just searching for clues. If you end up letting the traitor get away (and thus killing off an innocent), you’ll pay the price at the end – when the traitor(s) will turn against you in battle.
Lost Dimension is part JRPG (complete with a well-developed turn based combat system) and part narrative adventure – and the combination works well. It’s not a perfect game, with a few technical issues like stuttering framerates and the occasional feeling that selecting the right team member is more guesswork than anything, but it’s a unique and enjoyable one. We’re glad Atlus and NIS keep releasing quality Vita games like this – there are too few of them these days.