Few games manage to as succinctly capture my attention as A Normal Lost Phone did at EGX this past week with its simple concept, initially small-scale, well written narrative and hidden layers of depth.
A Normal Lost Phone currently exists as a short web game where you play a character who has found a phone dropped on the ground and is attempting to see what secrets the phone might hold. Photos, text messages, locked dating app accounts, calendar appointments and more paint together a fragmented narrative that, while in some elements was a little easy to predict thanks to aspects of my personal background, managed to avoid many of the narrative tropes that often crop up when character archetypes like those included in the game are written.
Yes, I am being deliberately vague and non specific in my description of this game. Much of the joy of the experience is working out what’s going on in the lives of the characters involved in the plot. Going into the experience with a blank slate is definitely a smart move. It’s a short experience, I completed the whole thing sat on the EGX show floor, and stripping away any of the puzzle solutions or narrative reveals would take away the beauty of the game’s core concept. You’ve picked up a phone and you nothing about who it belonged to.
Seriously, go check this out. There’s a web version online now for free, with a longer and more fleshed out version coming in the coming months. Seriously, it’ll be thirty minutes to an hour well spent.