16 Sep 2021 4:50 PM +00:00

Lost in Random Review - Random but not lost

EA has somewhat solidified a name for themselves over the last few years for funding great indie-style projects called EA Originals. Under this banner, you will find It Takes Two, Sea of Solitude, A Way Out and Zoink's previous game Fe.

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With so many great games in there, Lost in Random had a lot to live up to. In its sheer uniqueness and the way I couldn't stop thinking about it, it has absolutely succeeded.

The Setting

Lost in Random has you play the role of Even, banished to the world of Onecroft. At the age of 12, all children across the land are given the chance to roll a black die, owned by the queen. This sends them to one of six central kingdoms where they have to live out the rest of their days.

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Lost in Random
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PRETTY IN PINK - it's not all its made out to be

Even and her sister, Odd, are trapped in Onecroft due to their parents' bad rolls and Odd, being the older sister, rolls on her 12th birthday. Rolling a very lucky six, she is sent to the best kingdom in the land to live beside the queen herself.

You are forced to accept this, until one day a ghost appears at your doorstep and you go on a journey to try and rescue your sister. This meta-narrative of self actualisation and predetermined routes of our lives is a fascinating one that humanises everyone you meet. In our own world, the single biggest sign of success is your postcode so connecting with all these unfortunate souls becomes a particularly powerful mechanic.

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The world itself is dark and creative in a way I can only liken to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Much of it has this odd dark purple hue and everything is quite scary in a similar sense to Little Nightmares, but every character is just so wonderfully human that fear dissolves instantly.

It sets up something creepy and gives you something much, much more.

The Gameplay

In your adventure across the six main lands, you run into a charming little die named Dicey. He can talk but only Even can understand him. This leaves you to piece together what he means, a funny way to play with our understanding of communication.

Lost in Random
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In conversations, you get to choose your reply from a handful of options and this allows the writing to really shine. When characters aren't outright funny, they're often hinting at a big payoff later on. Although it's fairly simple to get into, it has this great habit of throwing tonnes of information at you and letting you piece it together.

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The combat is a little less consistent. Even doesn't have the ability to do damage by herself but she does have a slingshot and luck on her side. You have to build up a bar by collecting crystals in a fight and this gives you the option to throw Dicey.

You created a unique deck before going into fights that allow you to spend the number Dicey rolled to initiate your combat. Some of these cards give you powerful weapons where others give you traps, buffs and ways of killing whatever is in front of you.

Upon hearing about Lost in Random, I was expecting something more tactical with everyone using cards, likes Slay the Spire, but got something much more action-driven. The base combat is fun but not quite as deep as it could be with those mechanics.

Lost in Random
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Each time you roll a fully charged die, you get six cards to choose from and you can only have 15 cards in your deck. This limited hand size often ends in you finding the optimal hand very quickly and never moving away from it because it works.

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This is a shame as the concept itself is great.

Fortunately, this is one of the few places Lost in Random doesn't live up to its concept. The game is smart and nuanced whilst also being easy enough for my younger brother to understand. Like their previous games, it focuses on a certain charm and empathy above all and that's what will stick with me.

The worlds of Lost in Random do a great job at emphasising this point. One is for those at the bottom of the ladder, three is eternally at war - I won't be spoiling the rest. They are well thought out and have this excellent internal theming throughout.

This being said, pacing can be a little odd and not all sections are quite as interesting as its best parts. Some worlds go on for just a little too long where others could be explored more. That being said, the fact that I wanted more is a testament to how much I enjoyed Lost in Random.

Verdict

Zoink Games managed to shock me a few years ago with Ghost Giant, a game about children that tells a story much more gripping and adult than it first seems. I knew what I was getting into when I started Lost in Random and yet, by the time I'd finished, they had surprised me once again.

Lost in Random is a brilliantly executed action adventure game with a surprisingly nuanced story that I adored. Its pacing is inconsistent and its combat occasionally fails to throw a real punch but its overwhelming charm always shines through

RealSport Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

We reviewed Lost in Random on PS5 & Review Code provided by EA.