Update (Thu 14th Apr, 2022): With Lost in Random now part of EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, we're re-sharing our original review from last year to give you an idea of what to expect. Enjoy!
Original Review (Tue 14th Sep, 2021): Lost in Random feels like the sort of game that would have come out 15 years ago. That's not to say it feels dated, not at all, but instead it comes from an era where developers took risks with unique and interesting IPs. It's the sort of game you could imagine stumbling upon in your local video game store with tantalising box art that just begged you to try it, before later finding you've fallen in love with it. It's only years later that it would be a surprise to find nobody you know has heard of the game, let alone played it. That form of cult classic status is hard to achieve, but it's one we believe Lost in Random may stumble across in years to come.
Everything about the game comes with a Tim Burton feel. Despite this, it always has its own identity, never once feeling like a carbon copy of the director's past works. The story has you playing as Even, travelling across the world of Random to find Odd, your sister who has been taken by the evil queen. The children in Random are all expected to roll a dice when they reach the age of 12, to determine which of the six lands they'll belong to. Unfortunately, Even, who is a Oner, isn't too happy that her sister, a Sixer, has been taken. Not long into the story, you'll also meet Dicey, a cute companion who joins you along for the ride.
The adventure takes you both across every realm of Random, each bursting with its own personality. Two-Town for example is a place where its citizens suffer from split personalities, and in some cases, literal body doubles. There's also Threedom, a warzone that is ruled by triplets fighting against each other. Venturing into a new zone is always exciting, offering new sights, sounds and story beats to uncover. For the most part, it keeps the narrative feeling fresh but is occasionally bogged down by fetch quests and pacing issues.
When you're not exploring these beautiful zones, you'll be engaging in some pretty unique combat. Even doesn't have any weapons at her disposal aside from her trusty slingshot, but it's not for damaging enemies. Instead, you'll have to smash crystals on foes, which in turn Dicey will absorb. As they consume more, you'll be able to throw them down which stops time and allows you to use a series of randomised cards. Depending on the dice roll, you can choose one or all of them, each coming packed with special abilities. You may be gifted a sword to attack your enemies or you can even use Dicey as a walking time bomb. It's unique, frantic and adds tactical elements to battles.
However, it doesn't always land. While you can set a deck of up to 15 cards, the randomised nature of fights can add some tedium. In some situations, you could run the risk of landing useless cards. For example, some flying enemies are pretty impervious to melee attacks unless they swoop down, so you may run into situations where you're constantly having to gain crystals and reroll the dice. It's not often that these roadblocks come up, but when they do, they can be fairly frustrating.
It's also worth pointing out that while the game is a gorgeous treat, it's not without its fair share of bugs. During our time we had side quests that wouldn't mark as complete, incorrect trackers, and most annoyingly, moments where we couldn't interact with anything without reloading our save. While these aren't deal-breakers, they do add some tedium and a feeling of a lack of polish to the overall production. Lip syncing is a bit all over the shop too.
Despite these hurdles, we hold no doubt they'll be ironed out in the coming weeks. What will be left is an underrated gem that has unfortunately slipped under the radar. Coming out the same week as Tales of Arise, Life is Strange: True Colors and Sonic Colors: Ultimate, the game appears to have been lost in the noise. It's a shame, but we're confident an audience will be found of people such as us who will love and embrace this game - warts and all. Lost in Random may not strike a chord with everyone, but for those it does, they will absolutely love it.