Lost in Harmony: Kaito´s Adventure tells the harrowing tale of Kaito and Aya. These school friends are constantly separated by Aya’s illness, which often see her in hospital. Missing her, Kaito retreats into dreams – made up of half remembered events, his studies, and music.
Through each dreamscapes Kaito rides his skateboard with Aya clinging to his back - avoiding obstacles and collecting stardust on his path to the goal.
An audio and visual feast
To be completely reductive, Lost in Harmony is a lane runner akin to Subway Surfers with additional musical elements. You skate down the screen, avoiding obstacles and debris, as you try and make your way to the end of each stage.
While this sounds like half the games on the store– Lost in Harmony is much more than its peers thanks to the way it uses it blend of music, visual, and gameplay to create a touching tale of confusing teen romance.
You skate though Kaito’s half dreams. Each is filled with music - from remixed classical pieces like Orpheus in the Underworld to Wyclef Jean’s latest song.
As you would expect from the half conscious thoughts of a teenage boy, the game’s world is dreamy and disjointed. Images and characters appear in a range of styles that leave the world looking like a popup book collage.
One second you could be chased by an anime bear, before – in the next moment – finding yourself assaulted by more illustrative army trucks alongside seemingly real-world people that line the road. Everything is disparate, but work together to make the world unfurling around the pair completely beautiful.
Dreamy, but deceptively hard
But don’t let my description of its tone and gameplay confuse you - Lost in Harmony gets incredibly hard.
The runner gameplay is instantly turned on its head. Rather than racing into the screen, you are skating outwards. Here the metaphor is the pair trying to outrun their lives, but it translates into horrors such as being trampled by boars and dodging debris from atomic blasts.
This is easy in itself, but Lost in Harmony layers in other elements to constantly pull your eye from the horizon where these dangers appear, demanding you split your focus.
And it really does force your attention everywhere. Flashing arrows indicate trees, rocks, and even missiles flying in from off screen, causing you to constantly weave back and forth. It’s a serious challenge, particularly when you also have to try and collect stardust and other items to boost your percentage completion of the stage.
The final, superb, distraction are the musical orbs that appear across the screen as in Elite Beat Agents. Here you must tap orbs to the beat to earn points towards the 50% completion you need to move the story forward. Easy in theory, but not when also controlling your dynamic skateboarders.
A beautiful collision of everything
Lost in Harmony has you managing so much that it is, at times, brain numbing – but the tight tap and swipe controls, beautiful look, and stunning music mean that repeated plays never frustrate. Plus, finishing a stage introduces more of Kaito and Aya's poignantly painful tale of romance through their SMS conversation’s, which - thanks to the music – is surprisingly impactful.