The big gameplay hook for Lost Ember is the ability to swap from one animal to another. Doing so allows you to view the game's big environments from different perspectives, but more importantly, allows you to utilise each beast's unique abilities in order to advance. It's a novel idea, but the game built around it feels underdeveloped.
You'll play as a wolf for the majority, but you can swap to any other creature you can find with a press of square. Wombats can squeeze through small tunnels, various birds can obviously fly, and fish can swiftly traverse through bodies of water. Finding and possessing each animal will likely lead to new areas and perhaps some hidden spots containing collectibles. Alongside a sombre story unfolded by your glowing companion, that's about all the game has to offer.
You'll often pass through huge, open ended areas, but other than looking for collectable bits and pieces, there's very little reason to stick around. You may as well book it from one memory to the next to progress the story, as that's the game's most interesting aspect. It's a shame more isn't done with the various animal forms; as it is, the shape-shifting only serves to get you from one point to another. It's all a bit lifeless.
Add to this the various bugs we encountered during play, and Lost Ember becomes a fairly hard sell. We got stuck on geometry a couple of times, and had to reset the game more than once. At one point, some animals failed to spawn, which meant we couldn't progress without reloading the checkpoint. These rough edges don't help a game that's already a little threadbare. Unless you're curious about the narrative, we'd beware of the dog in this case.