2021 has seen a surge of action-adventure-based games. With the co-op-inspired release of It Takes Two, the steampunk-esque journey of Black Skylands and a whole stack of different takes on the genre. Lost in Random, on the other hand, keeps it simple by focusing on one very specific element that makes most gamers cringe at the sound of its name, RNG.
But wait a minute! Isn’t RNG a part of almost every video game that’s ever existed, ever?
Well yes, cool your cucumber. Although, what makes this title’s gameplay so fascinating is how it incorporates the element of chance… For better or worse.
The Fighting Style of Lost in Random
When it comes to combat, Lost in Random utilises the traditional, third-person action staples. You know the drill: get in close for melee, shoot from afar with a projectile, heal when necessary, etcetera. But to help separate itself from the pack, the game quite literally throws a die onto the board. Allowing the main character, Even – who’s looking for her sister, Odd (hilarious, I know) – the ability to stop time when she collects enough Dice Crystals from her enemies.
Upon rolling her team-mate, Dicey (the dice, of course) she’s able to select from a range of damage, defence and effect cards that directly impact the flow of battle. Plus a whole new set of cards are drawn on each throw, and all have assigned values like 3 and 4 which must be rolled by Dicey to use.
In fact, Even can’t actually attack on her own until she draws a weapon or damage spell from the cards themselves. But since our young protag can stop time with every roll of the die, and physically position herself in an advantageous spot for some major butt-kicking, it gives the game a turn-based-meets-action kind of vibe that opens up a whole gamut of battle strategies. It’s ultra-satisfying to summon a sword from the cards, power it up, move over and then heavy attack an enemy in one fell smack to the face. Or even set up a time bomb in JUST the right location for anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the blast radius.
A Double-Edged Sword
There’s a whole heap of cards with exciting effects that are fun to trial out and experiment with too. But at the same time, it can get frustrating how intrinsically tied Lost in Random is with the game’s dice system. No default attack option means you’ll constantly be farming Dice Crystals from enemies mid-battle, which can get really annoying at times. Especially if you keep rolling low numbers or don’t receive the desired card loadout on your throw. As much I like this stop-start mechanic, it does interrupt the flow of battle a little too much for my tastes. I think a permanent attack or damage ability would’ve helped keep things moving a bit more. However, it is still quite fun to play at the end of the day.
The buyable cards from the game’s merchant also factor in a touch of randomness too. After a specific amount of cards are bought, you can choose from three different combat categories which are then randomly assigned to the shopkeeper in a Pokemon booster-pack-like fashion. And they offer up some pretty slick combat capabilities as well, like emitting an AOE slow down time effect, or even letting the player turn Dicey directly into a walking, talking explosive!
Lost in Random’s Mixed Presentation
Outside of the combat and maze-like map exploration, the rest of the game is pretty straightforward. And since Lost in Random is a mostly linear-based experience, there isn’t too much to discover besides a couple of treasures and a handful of side-quests which help to change things up a bit.
Even’s journey to find her sister Odd also isn’t very noteworthy, relying more on its wacky characters and Alice in Wonderland/Nightmare Before Christmas ambiance to drive the plot along. It’s enjoyable to watch Even interact with all the dice-themed characters and such, but they’re never around for long enough to grow a lasting sense of attachment. However, the characters feature some decent voice-work from the game’s cast, and the dark gothic atmosphere and creature designs are really creative. Never thought I’d run into a giant, upsidedown version of Jack Skellington that sucked at rhyming, but here we are!
If you’re in the mood for a hybrid-type approach to real-time action and strategy, then this 10 hour or so experience might just be for you. It’s got all your favourite third-person adventure elements down, alongside a cool card & dice system that brings forth a highly unique spin on the action-adventure genre. It certainly isn’t flawless, with a lack of basic attack options and a frequent stop-start approach to combat that might put some people off, but it still makes for an entertaining time nevertheless. That being said, even though the story’s not that compelling, the characters themselves are so full of life and shine even brighter with that stylised, Tim Burton aesthetic. So for those with an open mind, this game’s at least worth a CHANCE… I’ll see myself out.
Lost in Random has many interesting aspects going for it. The stop-start tactical combat system, the Halloween-inspired look, the appropriately moody soundtrack and quality voice-acting/cast make this short journey a worthwhile experience. However, the way combat is structured means its fundamentals can occasionally get lost in execution, and the story itself isn’t really worth writing home about. A solid 7 overall.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by EA. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.