Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Animation Arts Creative

Publisher:    Deep Silver

Released:  August 2010

PC Requirements:   Windows XP/Vista™/Windows 7™, Pentium IV 2 GHz Single Core or 100 % compatible CPU, 512 MB of RAM, 4.5 GB or more of hard drive space, 64 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible video card, 16 bit DirectX compatible sound card, DVD-ROM drive, mouse





by Rushes


Lost Horizon is brought to us by Deep Silver, the same publishing team behind the acclaimed Secret Files series. We are introduced to Fenton Paddock, disgraced former British soldier, and willingly tag along with him across the continents as he attempts not only to foil Nazi plans to infiltrate the mythical land of Shambala with evil intent, but also to rescue a close friend and ex-comrade who has disappeared in mysterious circumstances whilst on an expedition in Tibet. Fenton must traverse through Hong Kong, Tibet, Germany, Morocco, India and Shambala itself before his adventure may finally conclude.

I love shiny things

Third person point and click adventure games with a male protagonist at the helm seem to be a relative rarity these days. Too often it seems we are put in charge of a busty, scantily clad, twenty-something lass with an attitude problem, and while hopefully the plot and puzzling have something better to offer us, we have to do the best we can meanwhile with a tired stereotype. Lost Horizon deals us a hefty rucksack full of Fenton Paddock, rugged anti-hero, and we are refreshed and all the better for it. I do not exaggerate when I say “hefty” -- for this is a long game. A fast player could expect between 15-20 hours of play. If you like to ponder and take your time, then you’ll be in Fenton’s world for considerably longer.

Lost Horizon offers subtitles, a spacebar function to reveal all onscreen hotspots, and an extremely useful pause feature. Double clicking on an exit area will take the gamer immediately to the next screen. Dialogues can be skipped by right clicking. There are some fairly long cut scenes and lengthy dialogues throughout. In certain scenes it is possible to toggle between different characters as you puzzle solve. There are unlimited save slots.

The graphics are vibrant, richly coloured and detailed. I found Shambala to be particularly breathtaking and imaginatively realised. The music is subtle, never too intrusive or out of place. There are few things more annoying than straining to catch critical dialogue over the infernal oompah of an over enthusiastic brass and string section. Thankfully, Lost Horizon never makes the fatal error of staggering headfirst into the orchestra pit.

We meet various secondary characters during the journey, all of whom are satisfyingly fleshed out. Dialogue is for the most part entertaining, although perhaps a little forced during the introductory Hong Kong chapter. I found that Fenton’s constant wisecracking also palled at times. Some occasional gravitas, if you please!

Dance harder, flames!

Hear ye, hear ye, oh fond lovers of inventory puzzles, for here is your paradise! -- and it declares itself triumphantly as Lost Horizon. Not since the heady, happy torment of Secret Files have I encountered such an unrelenting onslaught of head scratching via inventory. The game may lull you into a false sense of security early on, but becomes progressively more fiendish as the chapters unfold. The thought processes are logical, however, and are never so outlandish that you wonder as to the sanity of the developer. I experimented, combined and cackled my way through Lost Horizon’s brand of puzzling, and loved every moment.

There are standalone puzzles too, but they are very few. The player is given the advance option of playing the Easy or Hard version of each, which I thought was a nice feature. There are no sliders, sound puzzles or timed sequences. There is one maze. I encountered no Game Over moments.

Upon completing the game the player is advised of a special Bonus area now accessible from the main menu. This area comprises the first ten minutes of play of Lost Horizon’s prototype from 2008, and it is intriguing to note the differences between this and the final polished version. There is also a bonus jigsaw puzzle, and an opportunity to replay the end fight sequence.

The key to a camel’s heart

There are some relatively dreadful accents during the opening Hong Kong chapter, and occasionally the dialogue will creak like a hundred-year-old rocking chair. If inventory puzzles aren’t remotely your preferred glass of tea then I would suggest that it might be wiser to remain a safe distance from Lost Horizon.

I’m not much of a carpet boy

Lost Horizon installed without any problems and played flawlessly throughout.

In summary, Lost Horizon is nirvana-on-a-stick for inventory puzzle lovers, and those venerable adventurers amongst us who enjoy rollicking, picturesque travels (and saving the world while they’re about it).

Grade: A

I played on:

Windows XP Media Center Edition SP3

Intel[R] CPU T2050 @ 1.60GHz

2.00 GB of RAM

NVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE, 512MB

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