Lost Sphear Review: A lost and forgotten RPG masterpiece

Lost Sphear Review: A lost and forgotten RPG masterpiece

Embark on an odyssey through time and memory in Lost Sphear, where Tokyo RPG Factory masterfully blends classic RPG elements with innovative mechanics to craft a truly immersive experience. At the heart of the game lies its stellar battle system, which draws inspiration from beloved classics like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII, offering players a dynamic and strategic combat experience that evolves with each encounter. But it's not just the engaging battles that captivate; Lost Sphear's customization system, featuring Momentum Mode, Sublimations, and the awe-inspiring Vulcosuits, empowers players to tailor their abilities and tactics to suit their playstyle, elevating the gameplay to new heights of depth and complexity. As the narrative unfolds, players are drawn into a world teeming with mystery and intrigue, where the consequences of a corrupted empire and the enigmatic power of the Moon propel them on an epic quest to restore the lost. Accompanied by a diverse cast of characters and set against stunning landscapes, Lost Sphear invites players to unravel its secrets and uncover the true essence of time itself. Now, without further ado, it's time to start this review.

Battle System - 10

Lost Sphear beginner's guide - Polygon

Lost Sphear does a fantastic job of mixing the combat of its predecessor, I Am Setsuna, with the combat of other fantastic games like Xenogears, Grandia, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy VII, making for my favorite Active Time Battle system of all time. This game retains the fundamental ideas of I Am Setsuna, with Spritnite and Momentum Mode making a return. However, combat is a bit different this time around. The player has free-roaming capabilities upon selecting an action. Within this time, the player can strategically place themselves in areas where they can hit certain enemies or allies with the effects of their abilites! This gives the game a layer of depth that was missing in Setsuna. Ultimately, with an ultra-refined version of I Am Setsuna's battle system, Lost Sphear's battles never get boring.

Customization System - 10

Not only did the battles get more interesting, but the customization did as well. Momentum Mode has become a whole lot more interesting here! Instead of Momentum Effects being predetermined by the associated Command Spritnite like in Setsuna, Momentum Mode effects are determined by special Momentum Spritnite, which essentially function like Final Fantasy VII's Support Materia. For example, if I link the "Life Axiom" Momentum Spritnite to Locke's "Snipe" Skill Spritnite, every time I trigger Momentum Mode with "Snipe", "Life Axiom" will trigger! Also, for anyone curious, Life Axiom just restores a percentage of HP to the user proportional to the damage dealt. But I digress. Like Setsuna's Fluxations, this game has Sublimations, which are much simpler to understand and much easier to trigger. Instead of complicated Talisman BS, Sublimations simply transfer the abilities of linked Momentum Spritnite to their linked Skill Spritnite... this means you can put a bunch of special effects on a skill and use these effects without even having to go into Momentum Mode! With the Sublimination system, you can deeply customize your abilities... and you can even get duplicates if you want to test out different combinations for the same ability!

But there's one thing that truly sets this customization system apart from the crowd: Vulcosuits (aka this game's version of Mechs). Each of the eight characters Vulcosuit has its own unique abilities, and it is simply incredbile! Kanata's Vulcosuit can use double, triple, and even quadruple combos with other mechs; Lumina's Vulcosuit upgrades all of her equipped Skill Spritnite to make them much more effective; Locke's Vulcosuit allows him to spin slots after using every ability, potentially buffing the ability in a variety of fun ways; Van's Vulcosuit gives him a skillset of unique abilities that synergize with his equipped Spritnite; Obaro's Vulcosuit gives him access to top-tier elemental magic inaccessible through other means; Galdra's Vulcosuit allows her to use three consecutive abilities; Sherra's Vulcosuit allows her to use two back-to-back abilities that, if used correctly, will trigger a third ultimate move; and Dianto's Vulcosuit, which provides a skillset of abilities that complement his tanking abilities by buffing him, debuffing enemies, or healing him. Ultimately, Lost Sphear has an epic cusotmization system!

Story - 7.5

Lost Sphear | Game Over Online

While this game has a slower-paced story that takes a while to get going, by the end of the game, you'll realize just how special this story is! This game's narrative revloves around restoring the Lost, areas of the world that have disappeared due to unknown circumstances. To stop the whole world from becoming Lost, Kanata and his friends travel the world to rebuild it by manifesting memories into plausbile matter. While I don't want to spoil any of the late-game plot twists, I assure you once you get the crew of eight all together, the real story starts, and it instantly takes off and becomes fantastic. Once the story starts delving into the consequences of the corruption in the Empire, as well as the intriguing powers and past of the Moon, it gets absolutely insane in the best way possible. While the story starts slow, it becomes supernatrual, enigmatic, and political in a way that I've never quite seen in another game, making it incredibly awesome and underrated.

Characters - 6.5

The characters in this game are above-average, but not quite sensational. This game features a cast of eight playable characters, and they are all pretty decent! There's the protagonist, Kanata, a young town boy who has the mysterious power to restore the Lost by calling on the power of the Moon. There's his best friend, Lumina, who is a loyal and fun friend infused with the ominous, hard-to-grasp power of the Spritnite Core. There's their best friend, Locke, a younger boy who gets captured and later faces a difficult circumstance that changes his life for both the better and worse. There's Van, a cocky young adult with a completely mysterious past and an aura of intrigue. There's Obaro, an immortal who witnessed many seemingly disconnected events that may have led to the so-called Lost phenomenon. There's Galdra, a high-ranking official of the Imperial Command that deserts for the greater good of the world—to help Kanata successfully complete his mission. There's Sherra, War Maiden of the Twilighter tirbe that joins the team as a peace offering to prove that her people had no involvement in the ocurrence of any of the cataclysmic Lost phenomena. And, last but certainly not least is Dianto, the Demon King. Dianto is an enemy to all but those willing to help him protect his homeland from the evils of the Empire. These character are unique and fun, but they are a little bit lacking compared to more iconic RPG casts. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed my time with these cool characters!

Music - 6

While the shift from piano-exclusive music in this title felt more aligned witht he tone of the game, this soundtrack from Tokyo RPG Factory felt like a considerable step dwon from the soundtrack present in I Am Setsuna. While the main theme is brilliantly impeccable, the vast majority of songs in this game aren't too memorable. Not bad, by any means, but mediocre. Better than the music in their final game Oninaki, at least!

Locations - 8

Lost Sphear - How Artifacts Work | Shacknews

Compared to the other two Tokyo RPG Factory games, this game has phenomenal locations! And compared to other RPGs? This game ain't too shabby either! My favorite part about each of the locations in this game are recovering the Lost areas using various Memories acquired along the journey! There's also a ton of variety here, with tons of different types of areas and a decent amoutn of exploration. This game has some great locations!

Art & Graphics - 9.5

One thing I adore about each of the Tokyo RPG Factory games is that they look completely different stylistically, but are equally beautiful. The aesthetic in this game (especially the UI) is more clean, casual, and modern-looking, as opposed to the somber, cold, and formal look of I Am Setsuna or the gothic Japanese style of Oninaki. The art style reflects the game's theming and message so well. It looks amazing, and in my opinion, it looks the best of any of the Tokyo RPG Factory games.

The Verdict


Fun Factor: 8
Overall Score: 81%
Letter Rating: S

This was easily the peak of the games that Tokyo RPG Factory created, and it is one of my favorite classic RPG tributes of all time. Lost Sphear is a game like no other I've played and, honestly, I prefer this game to many games it was inspired by! I'd take this near-masterpiece any day over Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, and even Chrono Trigger! Call me blasphemous, but this is one of my favorite games, and I firmly believe it would've been a cult classic if it were released at a better time. I'd recommend this incredible game to anyone looking for a classic JRPG experience, and if they are looking for a modern classic JRPG experience? This is the second game I'd recommend, only after the pretty-much-perfect Chained Echoes.

Primary Version: Lost Sphear (PC)