Lost in Harmony: The Musical Odyssey is advertised as an auto-runner and rhythm game hybrid. When I first came across it, I thought it was just a typical runner with a cute gimmick to separate itself from the pack. After all, the mobile gaming scene just can’t seem to get enough of runners. But boy, was I in for a surprise. Lost in Harmony mesmerized me before I even started playing the game. The music at the menu screen immediately told me that I was in for something more than just a generic runner game.
There are two stories in Lost in Harmony. The first focuses on a pair of lovebirds, Kaito and Aya. And the second centers on the robot M.I.R.A.I. You can freely choose which story you want to follow right from the start. I won’t spoil anything, but if you want a more somber story, go for the former; otherwise, choose the latter, which is more upbeat and less weepy.
The gameplay revolves around two things: 1) avoiding obstacles like you would in every auto-runner game, and 2) timely pressing on-screen buttons like you would in a rhythm game like Rock Band. You have to do both each level. Unlike most runners, Kaito (with Aya piggybacking) and M.I.R.A.I. are running toward you. There are also five “lanes,” instead of the usual three. Obstacles will appear from five directions – both ways. Meaning, aside from evading moving obstacles that come up from behind, you would also need to avoid obstacles appearing out front. For every hit, the health bar decreases.
During specific moments in each level, things will sort of slow down. But not to give you a breather. No, the game changes pace to make way for the aforementioned on-screen buttons. You need to press these buttons in a timely manner. At first, it may seem the buttons just randomly appear. But they’re actually synched to the music, which is why the game recommends you use headphones.
Well, actually, the entire gameplay revolves around the music. I didn’t notice this immediately, but the obstacles actually appear according to the beat. Furthermore, the “lanes” look like a guitar fingerboard. So it’s like you’re actually playing the music akin to a real rhythm game. Each level contains a ton of Stardust and three orbs for you to collect. The Stardust is used to buy hearts, which are consumed every time you enter a level. Orbs, on the other hand, allow you to continue your game if your health bar is depleted, instead of restarting the level.
The highlight in Lost in Harmony is unquestionably its music. M.I.R.A.I. mode features livelier music to match his story, which involves escaping from his maker across the universe. Kaito mode, as mentioned, features a somber music lineup, matching the predicament he and Aya are in. To sum up the music in the game: It’s so good it will distract you from all the dodging and button-pressing. Especially when the music abruptly slows down from frantic synthesizers to a classical piano piece.
At one point, during Kaito mode, I had to pause the game because the sad music was getting to me. Although admittedly, I’m quite the sucker for excellent music in video games. Even if I wasn’t, I’m confident Lost in Harmony would have reeled me in nonetheless. This game is a must-play among all must-plays.