Lost in Random from Swedish developer Zoink is the latest addition to EA Originals’ ever growing library, and there’s an argument to be made that it’s unfairly fallen under the radar this year. This Tim Burton inspired action adventure is full of charm, humour and really fun gameplay which is only ever let down by a few pacing issues here and there.
If, like me, you’ve grown up watching Tim Burton movies then you’ll find a lot to love with Lost in Random’s approach to the wonderfully odd world they’ve created here. The game wears it’s inspirations clearly on its sleeve for all to see and every individual character and location has a certain gothic charm which made me feel right at home, especially for this time of year!
The story focuses on a little girl named Even who is on the hunt for her older sister, Odd. The evil Queen of Random decides the fate of every child on their twelfth birthday with a roll of her cursed black dice and on Odd’s birthday, she rolls a six meaning she’s transported to the Queen’s realm – Sixtopia, far away from Even. As you’ve probably already figured, The Kingdom of Random is themed on dice games and is therefore separated into six regions. We begin in Even’s hometown of Onecroft which represents the lowest slums where only the most unfortunate souls reside. Even’s adventure then takes us through the likes of Two-Town, where every resident suffers from a split personality, and Threedom, where three siblings fight over who should rule the middle class realm, and so forth and so forth until she finally reaches Sixtopia.
These locations were a joy to explore, and although the mirroring of social class systems is far from subtle, I still found myself fully invested in this world and it’s range off different characters. Every time I’d enter a new realm I’d do my best to talk to every weird and wonderful person I could just to get a feel of that towns history and lore. This would often lead to a surprising amount of side missions I wasn’t expecting for a game of this size, and meant my overall play time clocked in at a surprising 15 plus hours which is decent value for its price range.
Even isn’t in this adventure alone. She is flanked by the mysterious living dice – Dicey, who helps you along when having to fight members of the Queen’s guard. The combat in Lost in Random is really unique and once again revolves around dice games. The aim of the game is to use Even’s slingshot to fire at the enemies who will then drop these weird blue crystals that Dicey will run around and hoover up. Once Dicey has enough crystals you can roll him and the number he lands on will represent the number of action points you have to use.. with me so far? Good. You then have a collection of cards which all represent different scenarios such as providing Even with different weapons, bombs, healing elixirs, magical attacks and much more. Each card costs a different amount of action points so rolling Dicey as high as possible is what you really want to do.
There is no levelling up system for Even but Dicey can only roll up to a two when you first start off, so the main progression of the game comes from improving your trusty Dice(y) so that you can roll higher numbers and do more damage. Even’s progression comes from collecting different cards from all these unique realms by purchasing them from the giant living card shop, Mannie Dex. I realise this may sound a bit overcomplicated but it really works in practice and I had a lot of fun with it, especially during boss fights and the special board game battles.
The only downside to the combat was that certain scenarios seemed to drag on just a little too long. There were more than a few occasions where I’d defeat a handful of enemies and feel fully satisfied only to have twice as many pop up and I’d have to go again. It also doesn’t help that a lot of the enemies aren’t overly difficult so it can begin to feel like you’re just going through the motions after a while, which is a shame when the combat is so original in the first place. Personally I’d have preferred a handful of tough opponents rather than a seemingly endless barrage of puppets to destroy. The main issue with this is that it negatively impacts the pace of the game which is a recurring issue elsewhere as well..
As much as I enjoyed speaking to all the characters I mentioned earlier, there were a few times when the dialogue would just repeat itself. One or more NPC’s would often reiterate the same plot point again and again which I assume was added just in case you tried to skip over too much dialogue. It meant that I wouldn’t always feel rewarded by asking all the questions presented to me, yet I’d still find myself asking them anyway as I didn’t want to miss anything in this charming story. It’s not too much of an issue at all but when mixed in with some of the combat areas going a bit too long, it results in the overall pace of the game feeling a bit slower than it needed to be.
The only other small downside I want to mention is that I played the PS5 version but if it wasn’t for the little PS5 logo when booting the game up, I’d never have known. There’s no use of the haptic feedback whatsoever and although I love the games art style, textures and lighting were identical to last-gen and it’s really hard to pinpoint what makes this version a current-gen title other than a slightly better frame rate. I suppose loading times are very quick but there are still loading screens present, the only difference is that you don’t get very long to read the tips. It’s a good job then that I love the games childish horror design regardless, and the soundtrack and narration is just as much a part of that as the visuals.
The narrator in particular is absolutely hilarious. His comedic running commentary running over this bleak and spooky world is a fantastic contrast and there were countless moments he had me fully laughing out loud.
Lost in Random is a game I’m surprised hasn’t had more attention. Exploring it’s Tim Burton inspired world is nothing short of joyous and worth playing for that alone. The combat is a lot of fun even if the enemies aren’t that much of a challenge, and the story is strong enough to carry you through despite it suffering from a few pacing issues. I believe both last-gen and current-gen versions are priced equally but if not I’d go with the cheaper option as there’s barely any difference between them. Overall though I’d highly recommend Lost in Random. Its been the gaming equivalent to a nice warm comfortable blanket to help through these cold October nights and I really hope more people get the chance to play it.
I give Lost in Random