Lost Constellation Review

Beneath a star-filled sky.

The storyteller's art involves more than simply repeating tall tales of old, or reciting scripts that have been committed to memory. A true spinner of yarns is a conduit that filters a story through his own experience, drawing you in not just through the epic he relates, but also through the embellishments he gilds it with. He knows how to tell a legendary fable as if it's the first time you've heard it.

Lost Constellation's great accomplishment is that it captures the improvisatory spirit of the bard and the jester. Characters in games don't often speak like people actually speak--they speak like writers write. In this ephemeral 2D adventure, the characters aren't people; they are cats and mice, snowmen and alligators. Yet they speak as if they are individuals unto themselves, rather than exposition machines. What they say might baffle you: "I'm not following this line of logic," exclaims the game's heroine to a mouse that serves as the gatekeeper of a mysterious totem. Later, the young cat that stands in as the game's audience asks the narrator--her grandfather--what this story is about. "What do you want it to be about?" he responds. Whether or not you find that reply helpful or unhelpful depends on how important it is to you that a tale provides all the answers and dutifully states its meaning.

No Caption Provided

As the alligator astronomer that stars in Lost Constellation, you move to and fro as you might in an old-fashioned platformer, but this is a PC adventure of the classic sort, gating narrative developments behind light puzzles and exploratory tableaus. Interactions are simple: you gather snowballs and throw them, build and customize charming snowmen, and speak with the delightful denizens of the woods you travel through. The simplicity complements the story, stressing the graceful snippets of dialogue with object collection and chime-ringing. Lost Constellation is not so much about "what," however, than it is about "where" and who."

The "where" is a forest of wintry beauty. The trees grow towards the heaven as you watch, rising from their current infinity to an even greater infinity, if such a thing were possible. You enter a coffin salesman's hut, and the background peels away, leaving you to bask in the warmth of the tiny cottage. It's such a small but meaningful detail, the way the falling snow dissipates and you are left with the orange glow of a cast iron stove and the comforting presence of a pipe-smoking fox resting in a rather cozy coffin. The "who" is a funny and diverse bunch, from a royal troupe seeking audience with a spirit, to a rat forced to confront her own wickedness. Lost Constellation's surreal soul, however, emanates from those snowpeople you build, who come to house the lost spirits of the wood.

He isn't beautiful, exactly. But he's in a class of his own anyway.
He isn't beautiful, exactly. But he's in a class of his own anyway.

The question of "why" still lingers when Lost Constellation draws to a close, but by then, it has fulfilled its purpose admirably, not just as a brief adventure, but as a companion piece to the developer's forthcoming Night in the Woods, a more expansive game set in the same universe. The game's clearest and most human sentiment accompanies that finale, at which point it muses on how we seek connections to the things we least understand--a suitable conviction for a story with such free-associative ideas and dreamlike tangents. To play Lost Constellation is to wrap yourself in a fleece blanket and shelter yourself from the cold.

The Good
Enchanting dialogue and characters
Lovely visuals create a sense of mystery and wonder
Being able to create your own snowman enhances emotional investment
The Bad
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kevin VanOrd has played Lost Constellation three times now, each time playing out just a little differently than before. He calls his favorite snowman "Binky." It's a pet name.
46 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for coop36
coop36

Just played through this for the first time, it is really somethign special. The story telling is quirky yet somehow profound and beautiful. It is quite original and makes you think a bit.

Avatar image for Shadownk
Shadownk

will wait for an ios version

Avatar image for GSGuy321
GSGuy321

Love the art style.

Avatar image for jhonMalcovich
jhonMalcovich

Looks cute

Avatar image for Bond_Villain
Bond_Villain

dang. not on console?

Avatar image for trollkind
trollkind

@Bond_Villain: Night in the Woods is supposedly coming to PS4 though and this is just a small sidestory in the same universe. << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for ahpuck
ahpuck

That soundtrack! Amazing!

Avatar image for UpInFlames
UpInFlames

I really didn't like this one. I thought it was poorly written, the dialogue felt unnatural, particularly the pretentious ending. It's interesting that you actually made a point about it, but I have no idea who exactly talks like this in real life. It's like saying that teenagers talk like the characters in Dawson's Creek or something, haha.

Avatar image for godonholiday
godonholiday

No bad points? Does that not make it a 10 in its genre and target audience?


Avatar image for Bastion00
Bastion00

@godonholiday: If an aspect of the game is "good" but not great or fantastic, it can't count as a negative in spite of not being the best thing ever, right? Does that make more sense?

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@godonholiday: << LINK REMOVED >>

Really, you are likely one of those people who think that review scores start at 10 and are worked backwards. :|

Avatar image for tomservo51
tomservo51

huh?

Avatar image for theemberquill
TheEmberQuill

Thanks for putting up the soundtrack! Music always gets me excited for games :)

Avatar image for TigusVidiks
TigusVidiks

you lost me, Kevin. Or I lost myself. Ended up more confused about this game than before reading the review. lol Guess I'll have to try it out.

Avatar image for uriel41
Uriel41

Dear Kevin, I'm not a native speaker of English but I've studied English languages and literatures here in Switzerland and I admire your work. Your reviews are as unbiased as humanely possible whilst not being overly wanna-be objective (it's going to end up being an opinion, no matter what. But who am I to tell you). You're not afraid of the individual and retain the personal element. Also, the way you express yourself - whether as a writer or as a speaker - is both very precise and captivating.

Keep doing what you're doing, I think it's excellent work.


All the best

Uriel

Avatar image for wrednajasobaka
wrednajasobaka

@uriel41:

You are non-native English speaker and you can write a post like that? You are putting a lot of native English speakers to shame.

Regards

Avatar image for scorpionz9
scorpionZ9

@uriel41: you sure type like one... :)

Avatar image for Xmus942
Xmus942

Is the gameplay fun?

Avatar image for Kevin-V
Kevin-V

@Xmus942: I think so! I mean, it comes from the point-and-click adventure game tradition. The puzzles aren't challenging, but like in most adventure games, the puzzles are gates that separate story bits. But creating snowmen, throwing snowballs, and finding your way around are pretty neat.

Avatar image for Nightmare350
Nightmare350

wonder if that song was made with FRUITY LOOPS!

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I love Alec Holowka's works - but I don't think that every game which has his music deserves his contribution.

His music makes a game far, far more enchanting than its gameplay and writing is. I strongly suggest playing a game with his music with the music disabled for a while - or any other game with great music for that matter.

(For example, I don't think that Offspring Fling would have been memorable if not for Holowka's music.)

Avatar image for trollkind
trollkind

@Gelugon_baat: Both Night in the Woods and Lost Constellation have Holowka credited as Co-Game Creator with Scott Benson so I guess he's more involved than just the soundtrack.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@trollkind:

Thanks for telling me that, but I will still say that not all games with his music deserve his music.

Avatar image for voljin1987
voljin1987

@Gelugon_baat: I agree.. the ost in aquaria was also sublime and made teh experience so much more

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@voljin1987:

Yeah, Aquaria is really good - but really, try it for half an hour without the music. The problems of that game become a lot more noticeable if you do that.

Avatar image for voljin1987
voljin1987

@Gelugon_baat@voljin1987: just did what you suggested.. I see what you mean :D

Avatar image for Gamerno6666
Gamerno6666

Oooh kevins first review of 2015.

Avatar image for AzureBonds76
AzureBonds76

@Gamerno6666: Mr. Van Nord has been busy alphabetizing his firefly-in-a-jar collection according to his Tweeter feed.

Avatar image for Kevin-V
Kevin-V

@AzureBonds76@Gamerno6666: Not true.


They're fruit flies.

Avatar image for HesamB
HesamB

you make a good point with The Bad.

Avatar image for Kevin-V
Kevin-V

@HesamB: Well, the truth can be harsh, but I have to call it like I see it, ya know?

Avatar image for LalchandTudu
LalchandTudu

The artwork of this game kinda reminds me of the game 'Botanicula.'
The name 'Lost Constellation' itself is pretty tempting...I'll try to get my hands on this.
Now need to check this on steam.

Avatar image for Kevin-V
Kevin-V

@LalchandTudu: You won't find it on Steam, but you can pay what you want for it here: << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for arjunrajshekhar
arjunrajshekhar

@Kevin-V@LalchandTudu: And THAT ladies and gents, is how you work a guilt trip. Not donating at this point is like refusing a belly rub for a pleading puppy.

Avatar image for arjunrajshekhar
arjunrajshekhar

DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAAAAAAN?

Avatar image for Kevin-V
Kevin-V

@arjunrajshekhar: Or ride our bikes around the haaaallls?

Avatar image for naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@Kevin-V: No.

Avatar image for arjunrajshekhar
arjunrajshekhar

@naryanrobinson@Kevin-V: Booo! You broke what could've been a magical princess duet between Kev-senpai and me :(

Avatar image for naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@arjunrajshekhar: Can't you just pretend I'm one of those one-dimensional bad guys trying to stop all those one-dimensional good guys?

Avatar image for Kevin-V
Kevin-V

@naryanrobinson@Kevin-V: Well you're no fun.

Avatar image for ikcizokm
ikcizokm

@Kevin-V@naryanrobinson: It doesn't have to be a snowman.

Lost Constellation More Info

Follow
  • First Released Jan 1, 2015
    released
    • PC
    Lost Constellation is a Longest Night ghost story. Travel into the frozen woods in a folktale from the world of Night In The Woods.
    8
    Average Rating1 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Lost Constellation
    Developed by:
    Infinite Fall
    Published by:
    Finji
    Genre(s):
    Action, Platformer, 2D