Lost Constellation is a supplemental game for the yet-to-be-released Night in the Woods from Alec Holowka (Towerfall Ascension) and Scott Benson. Think of it as a tantalizing appetizer; the story is complete on its own, but it definitely makes you hungry for what comes next in the game’s universe. There’s a definite emphasis on storytelling over exciting gameplay, but gamers who like atmosphere and exploration will find plenty to enjoy in Lost Constellation.
Available for PC, Mac, and Linux systems, Lost Constellation is a great winter game, best played in the dark with rain battering at your windows and a cup of tea at your side. If you can't manage that, the game will create that atmosphere for you. Lost Constellation begins with the promise of a bedtime story, and on that promise, it delivers.
Lost Constellation's Mythic Journey
The story follows female astronomer Adina Astra, who embarks on a journey on the longest night of the year to find a missing star. While Adina encounters many strange characters along the way—sardonic cats, coffin-sellers, would-be gods—she doesn't falter, pursuing that star toward a satisfying and mysterious climax. There's just enough room for interpretation in the story so that you don't feel cheated, but neither do you feel like you've been spoon-fed information. Players aren’t given much backstory for the universe in which Night in the Woods and Lost Constellation takes place, but its myths and legends feel instantly real and evocative.
As a supplemental piece to Night in the Woods it works perfectly, because you’re left wanting more—more context for the story you've just been told, more of the playfully haunting graphics, a more thorough understanding of who Mae the aspiring bank robber is, and so on.
Scott Benson's Animation Sets a Storybook Stage for Lost Constellation
If the story doesn't get you, the artwork sure will. Benson's trademark animation style looks like paper cut-outs, but not in a fully 2D South Park way. The animation is smooth and the colors are cool and crisply vibrant, reminding you at all times that this is indeed the “Longest Night,” and you are lost in the woods. The characters are anthropomorphic Richard Scarry-like critters. Adina is an alligator, and she comes across everything from cats and mice, to owls and wolves over the course of her journey. It looks and plays very much like an animated storybook, which is not a bad thing.
Lost Constellation isn't long, but neither is a bedtime story. It's easy to breeze through it in an hour or so, as the gameplay is largely point-and-click with the occasional puzzle. The puzzles are fairly simple, and the game provides subtle hints upon repeated failures. The hints get increasingly helpful and don't repeat, allowing the player to solve the puzzles with minimal annoyance and frustration.
There's really not much to complain about. The short length and basic gameplay are to be expected from a supplemental game, but the poetic writing, beautiful graphics, and fable-like story add value and memorability. The simplicity occasionally makes it feel like a game for children, but there are also dark and mature themes at work in Lost Constellation, both overt and subtle. Ramping up the puzzle difficulty could have elevated the gameplay slightly, but it's obvious this game is meant to deliver a story, not challenge the player.
Lost Constellation is available for free through itch.io, and players who want to give a little something back are encouraged to. This creepy, mythic little story offers a promising look into the world of Night in the Woods, and delivers the perfect point-and-click short story to get you through another cold winter’s night.
Lost Constellation is available now for name-your-own-price via itch.io.