Developed By: Zoink
Published By: EA
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X/S, Nintendo Switch & PC
Reviewed On: PC
Lost in Random is an Action-Adventure Game published under EA. It is one of the EA Originals that is developed by Zoink, a Swedish development studio. EA Originals games have a history of being good with games like Unravel, A Way Out and It Takes Two, which was launched quite recently and did well despite being considered as an indie game.
All Hail Random
Lost in Random takes you to a dark world called Random. Players take control of Even as she goes through each of the towns in Random trying to find her sister, Odd. The main story is quite predictable with a few mysteries thrown into the mix. Each town that Even visits will have its own tale to tell, and I find that these sub-stories are far more interesting as they introduce you to more characters in the world of Random.
Fans of puns will have a field day with the story and dialogue as there are far more than enough of those in the game. The game even breaks the fourth wall at times by using The Narrator which I found very entertaining.
Not all is great though as the pacing of the story especially in the beginning, is very slow. Most of the time in the early game you will just spend time going through a lot of conversations which can feel tedious. There were also a lot of interesting characters in the game which gets shoved aside after appearing only for a short moment and to be never be seen again in the game. The biggest letdown is how the story felt like it was being forced to end abruptly. I felt that there was more story hidden and even had to check if there was a secret ending online just in case but was surprised that it ended just as the story was getting more interesting.
The Gloomy Dark Kingdom
The game does not hide that it takes a lot of inspiration from other films like Tim Burton, where each realm is designed to look dark and gloomy. The whole environment from its art style that mimics stop motion animation to its miniature camera focus looks gorgeous. Character design is excellent but there are a few repeated NPC models used here and there.
Certain NPCs are voiced but most of them just speak gibberish with subtitles for you to read. As mentioned, the soundtrack has a dark mystery tone to it like from Fantasia or The Nightmare Before Christmas animation. Even with the dark tone of the game, I find the soundtrack very pleasing to the ear as it does compliment the world and gameplay.
Pray to RnGesus
Lost in Random is an action-adventure game but it does have its own unique twist to it. Instead of just pulling out a weapon and going ham on an enemy, you are required to roll a dice to get a number, which in turn allows you to play cards, which will give you abilities, items, or weapons. Each card has a cost and you can play more cards if you manage to roll a greater number on the dice. The system sounds confusing at first, but it does work as you will find yourself getting a hang of it in no time if you are used to playing other card games like Hearthstone or Magic The Gathering.
The game does have a wide variety of cards which does give the player option to explore and create their own attack combination. Unfortunately, out of so many cards in the game, you are only allowed to use 15 in battle. This creates an issue where certain cards just feel not effective to be in the deck and you will end up only using the same 15 cards till the end of the game.
There are also sections in the game where you are given control of a chess piece on a chessboard that moves forward depending on the rolled number on the dice, something like monopoly. You will get frustrated at times because of not getting the dice roll number you want but in the end, it is still a fun game mechanic. One of the best moments in gameplay for me was fighting a boss which does not know how to rhyme and if you complete his rhymes you will deal extra damage to him. Sadly, these types of fights are only a few with the rest being either normal battles or chessboard battles as you progress closer to the end of the game.
There are collectables in the game but you really have to spend time looking for them because as of the writing of the review, the game does not allow you to revisit previous towns or replay in a New Game+ mode. What is even more shocking is that after completing the game, loading the save game only lets you play the last 30 seconds of the whole game before going back to the game-ending scene.
The Classical Errors
Lost in Random has all the greatness of an adventure game and all the generic problems that go with the genre. Bad camera angles, clunky movement controls, and invisible walls and bad collision detection are all present. Though irritating to deal with at times especially during battles, it is not game breaking at least. The game also does a bad job of explaining certain elements in the game like how a red crystal on the battlefield will heal your opponents for example and let you learn it by yourself.
The biggest issue I had was with the controls for the game, more specifically using the keyboard on PC. First of all, there was no way to remap your keyboard controls so you are stuck with what they had assigned. Second, the controls are not what you called, optimized for keyboard use. The game uses a keyboard and mouse so it has the WASD layout but when you enter any menu, you have to use Backspace and Enter to navigate which I find frustrating to have to let go of my mouse every time I have to press those keys. Yes, you can scroll your mouse to click the OK or Cancel icon but it does not work sometimes in certain menus.
Even in combat, I had a few fumbles where you scroll through your deck using the number ‘1’ and ‘3’ keys. I have many times press ‘Q’ on accident instead which basically skips you from playing your cards after you rolled the dice. In the end, I plugged in my PlayStation 4 controller and trust me, the game felt 10 times better with a controller. I will at least give credit that the game does recognize when you connect a PlayStation 4 controller to PC properly and changes the icons to PlayStation controller buttons.
What I Liked
- The World – Lost in Random has a unique world that is dark and gloomy as it was inspired by Tim Burton movies. The setting is original and as cliche, as the story gets, the world still has its mysteries.
- Gameplay – Card battle is nothing new in gaming but the battle system here is one that I like a lot. It feels original, creative and blends with the motive of the world and story.
- Characters – There are a lot of great characters in this game. Each one of them oozes personality.
What I Wished Was Better
- Replayability – There is no way to revisit the old section of the game to collect collectables or even replay the game again from an existing save game.
- So Many Useless Cards – There is a lot of cards and combination in the game but in the end, it is obvious that certain cards are just not good and are not worth to put in your already limited to 15 cards deck.
- Abrupt Ending – The game ended with more mystery than it started. Even the ending cutscene felt underwhelming. Wish that certain story aspect of the game was explored or explained more. In a game that needs the story to be one of its driving forces, it just didn’t deliver enough of it.
- Controls – This is only given for PC controls. If you are playing on a controller, you are fine.
As Random as it Gets
Lost in Random feels like a game that was rushed out for release. As the game progresses, it felt like there were less and less content and care given to the game and feels like it just wants to rush you to complete the story. Even the ending felt incomplete, and I do not know if this was deliberate or not. The game feels okay but I believe that it had the potential to be better. I hope that developer Zoink works on the sequel and takes the time to flesh it out as the game feels like might be a great IP one day.