A Normal Lost Phone
by JOHN DAVIDSON | 13th March 2017
In A Normal Lost Phone you are, perhaps unsurprisingly, a person who finds a lost phone. It’s unlocked and you can read the messages and so maybe you can identify who the phone belongs to and return it. At least that’s how it starts, by the end you’ll know more about the owner of the phone than a lot of people who know them in person do.
As you might expect there’s a story being told here and there’s no way to talk about the topics explored in detail without spoiling it. What I can say is the game imparts the intimate details of it’s protagonist and deals seriously with the issues raised. It’s a thoughtfully presented story that builds empathy with the characters and also delivers wisdom and offers ideas for avenues of support for anyone in the same, or similar situations. If you’re at all interested in exploring the thoughts, feelings and difficulties of life – some that you may be familiar with, others you may not – then play this game.
As the game focuses on delivering it’s narrative through apps on the phone you’ll be reading messages, online forums posts, emails and more. However, it did not feel like a chore, the game has a real flair for imparting just enough information to allow you to piece together the unfolding narrative. It reminded me of the way I felt playing Gone Home with my conclusions constantly changing as more details became available. All the time this discovery of new information drives you forward, seeking resolution.
There are a number of ‘puzzle solutions’ hidden in the text and details and I can see why they were used here. They do fit within the context of apps and phones but, I’m not generally a fan of this approach. Sometimes I had the general idea of the solution but had to dig back through content trying to pinpoint the exact details required. If you are reading everything – which I expect you will want to – I don’t think it diminishes the game if you look up a guide to get the specific answer required as it will better maintain the flow of the narrative.
The characters, their emotions, reactions and feelings all felt genuinely believable. The writing is among some of the best I’ve seen in this type of game and it tells an important and moving story which I would highly recommend checking out.