Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 26.04.2018

Review for Another Lost Phone: Laura

Like A Normal Lost Phone before it, Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story is an investigative visual novel centered around diving into someone's psyche and figuring out what exactly led them to losing their phone. Where the first game focused on an 18-year-old coming to terms with their identity, Laura's Story examines the relationships of a 28-year-old woman and the effect they have on her work and love life. While not necessarily more complex in theme or scope than its predecessor, an older protagonist does lend itself to a traditionally more mature storyline, which allows Another Lost Phone to work independently of A Normal Lost Phone, while also serving as a spiritual successor.

The less known about Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story before going into it, the better. While it may seem like common sense to fend off spoilers, this is a visual novel best experienced with as little information as possible, especially when taking into account the genuine detective elements at play. Discovering who Laura is, why she lost her phone, and how it happened, is half the fun of the investigation. Having a pre-existing idea of what went down takes away from the natural theory-crafting that would otherwise be at play. That said, Laura's Story is a bit simpler than A Normal Lost Phone in the narrative department.

This isn't a bad thing; far from it. Rather, it allows for the story to feel wholly different from the original's, while still telling a compelling tale. In fact, the simplicity actually works better in the visual novel's favour, as the twists near the end do a better job at recontextualising the experience than the predecessor did. While the original was more ambitious with its storyline, much of its complexity came through a change of perspective in the second half that didn't necessarily alter the actual text in the first half. The new scope meant the story took on a different light, but there is a clear distinction with how the plot is split. With Laura's Story, however, just about every little detail takes on a double meaning in hindsight. The plot doesn't have a clear split, allowing the overall story to flow a bit more naturally. Both are perfectly serviceable ways of storytelling, but it is nice that the sequel takes a different approach.

Screenshot for Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story on Nintendo Switch

Just like with A Normal Lost Phone, undocking the Switch and using the tablet to emulate an actual phone remains the best way to tackle the gameplay. As Laura's personal playlist kicks in, it's easy to get immersed into the act of scrolling through her phone and reading her messages. It is possible to play docked, but controller support has been intentionally removed in favour of playing with a single Joy-Con. Gyroscopic aiming is used to point at the screen and emulate the act of using a mobile phone on the TV, but it honestly comes off strange considering it's a blatantly inferior method to just undocking the Switch. That said, the controls are very responsive and don't hinder the gameplay.

If there's one element that Another Lost Phone does definitively improve upon over its predecessor, it's the investigative elements. The first time around, snooping around Sam's phone mainly meant paying attention to a few key details that all fit under a specific quirk. Here, Laura's phone requires far more involved reading. There is no overarching theme to her passwords. In fact, two of her passwords near the end require information from multiple different locations. There are less puzzles overall, especially early on, but the puzzles that are present are significantly more engaging and demanding; as a result, cracking Laura's passwords ends up feeling more rewarding than it did with Sam.

With an emphasis on complex puzzle solving and a simpler, yet still compelling plot, Laura's Story makes for a great spiritual successor and visual novel in its own right. Similarly to A Normal Lost Phone, it builds up to a powerful message that will surely resonate with audiences. It's an important story, and its simpler approach honestly helps to contextualise the final message in a clean, digestible way. It isn't a massive improvement, but it is consistent, which is one of the best things a sequel can be.

Screenshot for Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Although not as narratively ambitious as A Normal Lost Phone, Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story nonetheless tells a compelling a tale with a great set of twists that recontextualise the entire experience with a grander scope than its predecessor. The deliberate lack of a traditional control is a bit of an odd one, but the Joy-Con's gyroscopic pointing is serviceable and using the undocked Switch to emulate a proper mobile phone remains the best way to play the game. The interactivity present isn't as extensive as in A Normal Lost Phone, but the puzzles themselves are far more engaging and require deeper levels of analysation to solve. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story is a strong and consistent sequel that plays to the strengths of its medium, creating an original experience with an important message.

Developer

Accidental Queens

Publisher

Plug In Digital

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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