Lost Nova is a wonderfully wholesome adventure where you carry a laser gun around and have not one single enemy encounter with it. Instead, after crash landing on an alien planet, Mia will use her gun to collect resources from rocks, vegetation and crystals to repair her ship and make some new friends along the way.
The best compliment I can give Lost Nova is that its a game that distils resource gathering and light farming into a quickfire task. Often gathering and farming games expect a huge time investment and dedication but Lost Nova doesn’t want that. It gives you trees, plants, veggies, rocks and crystals everywhere and like a twin stick shooter, you can blast away happily and collect whatever you want. Then once you return back to your base where your ship is awaiting repair, all your loot auto pops into your safe so you can spend it on upgrades to Mia’s abilities, gun or buy ship upgrades and customisations in the shops. The sheer ease of progression and the satisfaction of just having things easily tot up and move about is a joy. So many games could learn from the auto-inventory shuffles that Lost Nova provides.
Whilst you collect things, the other big draw for the game alongside its beautiful artwork is its story. In order to repair your ship, you must visit new areas of the planet and each one hosts several characters with their own comedic issues. One has a shop keeper whose going out of business. There’s a bear in the woods who can’t keep his kids under control. The shop keeper has a jealous brother who wants to usurp him. Then there’s the fact most of the characters are also fruit. It’s good fun and light hearted but Mia is so frustrated at the laid back nature of the planets characters, she just wants to get on. The message is to slow down and prioritise what matters in life and it tells its story well over the initial story arc of 4 hours before you end up in the post game content. Rather excellently, the story keeps going beyond the natural ending if you want it to. Characters move about, their outcomes of your quests change what they do and their outlook on life. It’s very cohesive.
When you aren’t lasering everything, you’ll be doing some light platforming and again each area offers something slightly different. The desert area has pink gooey puddles to jump and splash into. You do this by holding one trigger which lets you aim your jump like a crosshair before triggering the jump with another button. It took me a while to get used to but it gave me much more freedom to jump around at the expense of the battery power too. In the ocean levels you traverse the water by propelling yourself with your laser gun. It’s just a little thing but it means all these areas play differently rather than just look differently.
Puzzles are visually cued and all revolve around blocks. You’ll enter chambers with block patterns on a wall and need to push blocks into matching positions using your gun. Elsewhere looking at rock formations help guide you to solutions. This all works fine and doesn’t present a high barrier for anything and almost all the puzzles are optional too. These are tied to getting upgrades to your gun to give you more battery power. It was here that I found the only minor issue with Lost Nova and it was that whenever I tried to push blocks straight up the screen, it didn’t seem to like it. Instead, I had to push blocks at an angle and whilst it didn’t really hold me back, it just seemed odd.
Overall Lost Nova absolutely nails a wholesome resource collectathon. Being able to do things so quickly, in tiny quests and seeing progress constantly building up around you propels the experience on. Whether you want to explore a few seed gardens, be the planet’s postie or just enjoy splashing in puddles, there’s plenty for you to do. It’ll give you a wholesome glow too.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
A wonderfully addictive bundle of joy that goes out of its way to be easy to dive into and lose yet another ten minutes to without noticing.
Like a microcosm of collectathons, resource gathering and fetch quests distilled down without the stretched out goals.
Beautifully vivid and warm colour palette and graphical style.
Characters that straddle comedic and heartwarming.
Addictive and simple to pick up.
Some minor issues when pushing block directly up the screen.
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