The purpose of the EA Originals publishing label is to bring forth unique and memorable experiences from independent studios. Swedish developer Zoink Games has definitely fulfilled the brief with Lost in Random: a card-battling adventure game that feels like it’s stepped straight out of a Tim Burton claymation movie.
In the Kingdom of Random, once a child reaches the tender age of 12, the Queen makes them roll a die which determines which of the six realms they will spend the rest of their lives in. Each realm is named after the side of a die, from one to six, and each is supposedly grander than the last. There’s no free movement between the realms so once the die has been rolled the future of that child is forever fixed.
The game is very quick to reel you in with its gothic fantasy setting. Everything from the game’s lore to the puppet-like visuals feels like a delightfully dark fairy tale. This particular fairy tale is about two sisters: Even, the game’s protagonist, and Odd, her older sister. They have both grown up in a dreary town called Onecroft where the adults have to spend their days sorting through junk from the rest of the Kingdom.
When Odd’s birthday rolls around, she hits the jackpot and manages to get a six which means spending the rest of her life in Sixtopia. Sure, it’s supposed to be a paradise where she’ll get to hang out in the company of the Queen but Even is pretty sad about never getting to see her again. It doesn’t help when she starts to experience strange dreams which leads her to think that maybe Odd is not living a life of luxury. It’s not much of a surprise when Even grabs her slingshot and decides to set off on a quest to save her sister.
Of course, one small girl against all the mechanical armies of the Queen would not exactly be a fair fight. Thankfully Even makes friends with a magical die (called Dicey) and together you form quite the formidable duo. The combat system is one that sounds pretty complicated but once you learn to embrace its randomness it quickly becomes second nature.
You’ll need to gather energy in order to give Dicey a roll. Once he’s been thrown the action will pause while up to five random cards are drawn from your card deck. Each card has a point score attached to it, so let’s say that Dicey has rolled a 3, you’ll be able to set loose a ghost (2) which travels across the battlefield harming anyone in its way as well as summon a spectral sword (1) so that Even can slash away at enemies.
By mixing and matching different cards you can create some pretty devastating combos but it’s down to luck which cards are drawn. This means that if you pull a couple of bad hands in a row you can end up having to play defence for a while until you can roll again. Much of the fun is in building up your deck so that it complements your playstyle. Little changes to a deck can make a big difference to how a battle plays out. Once you start to work out which cards work well together the fights get really chaotic and exciting.
There are also a handful of battles which take place on giant game boards. Here you’ll need to move a giant chess piece forward by rolling Dicey. These add an interesting dynamic to battles as you aren’t just focusing on wiping out enemies but will also need to get the chess piece to land on specific squares in order to succeed.
Lost in Random is not all about fighting, though. While travelling through the six realms of Random you’ll also get the chance to help many people who have been impacted by the Queen’s sinister schemes. During some side-quests you’ll have to make a choice which influences its outcome. Sadly, it doesn’t always feel like it matters which option you pick.
Although some of the quests fall a little flat, there are plenty of intriguing characters to meet and they all help to flesh out the world thanks to a well written script. While Dicey doesn’t talk much, there’s quite a lovely little friendship that gets built up between them and they support each other even when things look bleak. It’s heart-warming to see their interactions, and all the voice acting performances are also really strong, which makes it easy to fall in love with this strange world and all its weird and wonderful inhabitants.
Lost in Random is set in a masterfully crafted world which tells a gothic fairy tale-like story that has plenty of warmth despite its dark hue. With beautiful writing and a touching story, it does a great job at making you really care about what happens to Even, as well as everyone she meets. It also has a truly unique battle system that offers loads of fun in your quest to create a perfect deck. This is a delight to play from beginning to end.
"The purpose of the EA Originals publishing label is to bring forth unique and memorable experiences from independent studios"
Wow, thank you EA, (for once) very cool.
Glad to hear this is as good as it looks
Oh, had no idea it was going to be a card battler. I liked Fe but I don't think I will look any further into this one.
Looks great. Love deck building and dice, seems like a unique experience.
Great review,I had totally forgotten about this one.
After seeing some gameplay and your overall score I am totally convinced to buy this.
What is the price of this game in european dollarus?
Just started it this morning and getting plenty of Laika vibes (especially the hugely underrated Boxtrolls- go watch it, okay?) but the one thing that irks me … I CAN’T TURN OFF THE SUBTITLES!!
Yeah, it’s a triviality to some but I want to be taken in by the lush visuals plus my hearing is perfect anyhow so what with the narrator mumbling away it’s really annoying me. Same was true about Bugsnax and that was patched so hopefully I’ll get the option soon.
What playtime are we looking at for this? Don't want to pay £25 if its a 3-5 hour game
On my radar. May pick up on a sale
Hey, same score as Rift in Time. Must be THAT good then eh?!
Wow, this looks really cool!
I saw its digital only so ill wait for a discount or maybe a physical release from LRG. Its a pity that they really dont want to physical but do release a coop only game somehow. Its a pity it looks cool but i refuse to pay full price for any digital release.
Completely forgot this even existed, but glad it turned out to be pretty good. I don't play a lot of this kind of game, but I'll try to remember to check it out at some point as it looks great.
As somebody else asked this good question, how long is it? That would likely determine how long I wait to get it if it's short.
Been looking forward to this for a while. Zoink rarely disappoint.
Is the combat real time or turn based? The game sounds interesting. Good review.
@Fenbops it's real time. The game pauses to allow you to select which cards you want to use but then the action resumes once you select them.
@KilloWertz @UltimateOtaku91 it took me just over 20 hours to get to the end and complete all side quests
The only card-battling game I’ve got into was Steamworld Quest, which was great fun. I like the sound of this, and it’s always good to see some originality in a game. I think I’m gonna pull the trigger on this one!
Oh wow, I forgot about this.
Psychonauts 2, Lost in random and Kena back to back... great games to mix with my AAA list.
I liked Sea of Solitud, so will support EA Originals on this one also.
"it took me just over 20 hours..."
Oh great, thanks!. Was trying to find this out.
@Jenny_Jones thanks JJ. I like the sound of that.
I was watching the trailer the other day and it looks good, glad to see it has some mojo to back up the visuals.
Looks fantastic, a 15-20 hour playtime sounds even better.
I don't normally buy digital games but I'll get this to support Zoink! as I've really enjoyed their previous games.
@Jenny_Jones I know it's already been said, but still, thanks for letting us know.
The price isn't too bad at $30. Will likely buy it and play it either before or after Kena, depending on when I finish up Mass Effect 2.
I was very interested in this as I really like games like Ori and Fe but as soon as I saw card battler and battles take place on boards my interest dropped down to zero immediately. The environments look very nice though, as well as reminding me somewhat of Ori and Fe I am also reminded of a game called Kameo elements of Power.
If there is one thing EA does right, its EA Originals.
Glad to see this is another gem of a game. It looks very good with some interesting gameplay!
@rawzeku EA don't do jack BLEEP right it's the developers that make these games that do it right. EA are just trash, don't forget that.
@RubyCarbuncle Perhaps. But without EA Originals, most of these titles most likely wouldn't even see the light of day.
@rawzeku True but still.
This is a very beautiful game and well crafted World. I have really enjoyed just taking my time and soaking it all in.
Thanks for the honest review, game looks like fun!
@lolwhatno Unless something changed, I'm pretty sure the publisher is EA, not Ubisoft.
@Rubssi Oh wow, I'm such a dunce.....thanks for making me notice (wow u're so rude).
The irony is not lost on EA being the one publishing the game whose combat mechanics revolve around chance-based reward cards, but it's a truly enjoyable game whose chance-based mechanisms do not find their ways into our wallets past the upfront purchase cost, so well done and great job.
@lolwhatno S'all good, I clarified cause I hate Ubisoft and I don't want them to get credit for something legitimately good xD
@Rubssi Yes, seriously thanks for making me realize that it isn't Ubisoft, I too don't want to give them neither my money nor credit (except if they deserve it)
Anyways I edited my comment to change ubi to EA.
With that said,
Have a great day sir.
I have started this yesterday and I really love the Tim Burton movie look alike. : )
A late comment but I have quite a few issues with this one:
1. The pacing: even if the story is interesting, it is delivered in an acting style that is incredibly boring and time consuming. Even the shallowest conversation can take 10 minutes to give you a tiny bit of information on the lore. So an important thorough conversation for a main quest took me over 15 minutes. It kills the pacing flat. And on top of that there are frequent long cutscenes.
2. the best thing about the game is the combat system. But it is handcuffed arbitrarily for half the game. It takes 6 hours for it to get deep and interesting.
3. The camera is terrible. Specially in combat aiming. The sight often gets obstructed by walls and fences.
4. Even if the art design is beautiful, it is repeated too much. There are 6 "worlds" but once you've finished the first two you've seen mostly everything the visuals have to offer.
5. Dialog options are useless. Except on two occasions all dialog options are just for show. Your choices do not matter at all, except in 2 mini games related to trophies. The main character choices are not "Even" voiced. Probably for the better as spoken dialogs are so bloody long winded.
My score: 6/10
Great combat dragged down by terrible pacing and long cutscenes.
Tap here to load 38 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...