No one’s really cared about Lost Dimension… yet. Seen with indifference in gaming press and getting low preorders at home, Furyu’s new game, with its design full of 70’s flavor, didn’t really have my attention. But yeah, it’s summer, I have some free time, so I thought I could as well give it a try with the heavy (848MB) demo provided during the week-end.
The demo throws you into the action without any prior briefing. Shô is part an elite squad, the SEALED, set up in a hurry to stop some dangerous folk called The End from launching 13 nuclear missiles all over Earth. Thirteen is bad luck, right? Therefore, Shô and its unit rush on his trail, and enter a weird giant tower.
The gameplay parts remind a lot of Valkyria Chronicles : turn-based combat between units that have each their own moving area. You can also trigger support fire if other characters are closed to the enemy you’re targeting. This particular thing is extremely important in Lost Dimension for one simple reason : your opponents can do exactly the same! Consequently, you’ll have to advance with your characters not too far from each others so as to constantly have sufficient support. Otherwise, enemies will be quick to corner your teammates one by one. Furthermore, every SEALED member has some supernatural power (like the Fantastic 4, except that they’re 12) : Himeko can cast fire spell, Nagi can Levitate, Yoko can cast buffs/debuffs… They also have the ability to make another character play again when their turn’s finished (it’s like the Dancer in Fire Emblem, save that here everybody does it). Note that there is a shield gauge that you have to take into account when taking on stronger enemies. From what I have seen, the battle system should be deep and varied enough to entertain the player in the long run.
The is no currency in Lost Dimension. In the base camp, you will change energy into weapons and objects. You might as well do a little chat with your companions to know them better. That’s where Lost Dimension’s questionable design kinda leaves you uneasy : the small talk is uninteresting and not even dubbed. It’s therefore pretty difficult to appreciate the characters, especially given the dated design. The girls are still pretty nice, but without that Furyu’s new RPG would lack incentive to play. Please bear in mind that this is just design issues : on the field, graphics and animation are quite neat.
Last but no least, Lost Dimension’s genius stroke is this : The End has sent a spy in your team! One of the 12 «official» characters is a traitor, and you have to find him. Fortunately Shô has some psychic powers and he will identify «suspects» after each mission. Of course, you won’t know who it is right away : in a group of five, you have 0, 1, 2 or 3 potential traitors. Up to you to switch members from time to time in order to pin the traitor by elimination process. This very unusual setting gives Lost Dimension some unique and oppressing atmosphere. SEALED members have just met and don’t know each other, let alone trust each other. The music, with very slow and eerie tones, helps you dive into the suspense (it’s a little too funky in battle though).
But you’re not even done yet. The clock is ticking, and at each floor the game will ask you to bring the traitor for him to be judged. But there’s a snag : you’re not the ony one deciding on that! Each character is voting to expel one of them. Regularly, they’ll come and ask your opinion, moment when you can influence their choice towards the traitor… if you’ve discovered him! Otherwise, a real ally will be erased and turned into a materia which, ironically, you can equip later.
I don’t how good Lost Dimension will be in the end. But what’s sure is that that was an excellent demo : it changed my indifference into a purchase intend. In any case, I’m really excited about the final product.