A Normal Lost Phone
A Normal Lost Phone is a mystery puzzle video game developed by Accidental Queens and published by Plug In Digital on 2017-01-26 for Android, iOS, Linux, Macintosh and Windows, and later for the Switch. The game is part of the Lost Phone series and was originally made as a browser game, but this version added a lot of polish.
The game's plot is that you have found someone's lost cell phone. You see from the owner's text messages that their family is worried about them and they seem to have disappeared without warning, but, without any phone credits, you can't call anyone in their contacts. Your goal is to try and solve the mystery of their disappearance by reading through what is available and cracking into their accounts for more information.
I bought this game as part of the Bundle For Racial Justice and Equality package on itch.io. It looked interesting from the trailer, and, since I was in need of a new game for my phone, and this was one of the few Android games that caught my eye, I installed it on my phone. I played it across a couple days and eventually beat it on 2020-06-13.
I own a digital copy of this game and have beaten it.
Best Version: Android
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game has a pretty compelling mystery and, as you uncover new clues, you start guessing at possible outcomes and begin making judgments based on people's actions. The plot remains interesting and changes direction as you uncover more of the story, and I was interested to see the protagonist overcome obstacles in their life.
- The developers constrained the game fairly well. There is a difficult design problem with simulating a phone (or any other computer) and making it seem real without having to create an entire computer. By having it be a new phone, we don't need to sift through months of pointless chatter, hundreds of photos, and useless apps. Since the owner hasn't paid their phone bill, you can't call any of their contacts. And, by not having wi-fi, you can't read their email or use their browser. This directs you toward the few things you do have access too, and, by being able to crack into a few sections at a time, you can never get too far off track.
- The UI is pretty good. It feels like a cell phone UI even without all the bells and whistles that you would expect (but would distract from the game).
- Although I wasn't much of a fan of any of the game's songs, I did like the fact that there was an eclectic mix of tunes to play in the background.
- Too many of the puzzles were solved the same way, by guessing a password. If I recall, the only puzzle that wasn't a password was choosing a photo, but that wasn't exactly a puzzle. This isn't too much of a flaw since the game is mostly a story, not a puzzle game, but I thought the developers could have been a bit more creative.
- There is a bit too much useless reading. I'm assuming it was added for verisimilitude, but the unnecessary messages and emails did slow down the game.