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Lost in Random game review
Lost in Random is a new game by the Swedish studio Zoink, dedicated to the adventure of a girl Yven in the world of Random. In this dystopian tale, a fictional kingdom is ruled by an evil queen, mysterious creatures live in towns whose names come from numbers on dice, and most events are subject to chance. We tell you how Lost in Random is structured and how Dungeons & Dragons and the films of Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki influenced the Zoink game.
The first thing that Lost in Random can catch the player is an unusual visual style that recalls the films of Tim Burton, and cartoons of Studio Ghibli, and "Alice in Wonderland". According to development manager Klaus Lingeled, the first thing the developers thought about was how the future game would look. "This was before we came up with game mechanics and thought about dice," Lingeled recounted.
All these associations do not arise by accident. Although Zoink tried to come up with a unique magical world, the sources of inspiration for the developers were the movies that come to mind when you look at screenshots of Lost in Random.
The visual style of Lost in Random was also influenced by the cartoons of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. For example, the appearance of the queen who controls Random, according to the authors, refers to the spirit from Gone with the Ghosts.
A crucial role in shaping the visual style of the game was played by the illustrations of Australian artist Sean Tan. His painting of a little girl holding a dice was the starting point for Zoink in creating the world of Lost in Random and the game's protagonist.
"We explored the atmosphere of Sean Tan's work and the long shadows in his paintings, looked at the materials and animation in the cartoons of Studio Laika, and marveled at the realism of the strange creatures created by Studio Ghibli," said creative director Olov Redmalm.
And so the kingdom of Chance was born, a dark place of dark forests, fields of former battles, and cities where bizarre creatures roam its cramped streets. Ewen embarks on a journey through an unfriendly fairytale world to find his missing sister and learn the eerie secrets of the locals.
A story about randomness
In the world of Lost in Random, when a child reaches the age of 12, the queen herself comes to him and forces him to roll the Dark Dice of Truth. The number on the die determines which of the six cities the teenager goes to. Odd, the protagonist's sister, is one of those who must roll the die at the beginning of the game. The dice roll a six, which means that Odd will go to spend the rest of her days in Sixtopia, the realm of the queen herself. But something tells Ewen there's more to the story. So she sets out in search of her sister.
Zoink hired writer Ryan North, known for Adventure Time and Invincible Squirrel Girl for Marvel Comics, to work on the Lost in Random script. North's main task was to develop the dialogue and characters.
Combat system with cards
Lost in Random is an adventure game where the heroine wanders around the levels most of the time, interacts with characters, solves simple puzzles and collects collectibles. It's all like other similar games like Sea of Solitude and the recent Psychonauts 2. The element that makes Zoink stand out from other adventure games is the combat system, which is based on rolling dice and choosing cards that give Ewen special abilities. Not the least of these combat systems was the developers' love of classic tabletop RPGs, including Dungeons & Dragons.
Ewen travels through the kingdom of Chance not alone - after about an hour after the start of the game the girl is joined by a revived dice, nicknamed Dicey. During a battle, the protagonist can literally cast her companion - and depending on the result, choose a card that grants a special ability. At first, Daisy only rolls ones and twos because she lacks some points on her body, but over time Ewen finds a way to fix the die and then it begins to bring the heroine better results.
The number on Daisy's roll determines which cards Ewen can use in battle. For example, the healing card requires a one, but the card that creates a magic hammer for the heroine can be drawn only if the die roll is a three. You can also combine cards within a single roll: if Ewen rolls a deuce, she can use two healing cards at a time.
In short: the five most important facts about Lost in Random
- It's a dystopian tale in the style of Tim Burton's films and Studio Ghibli cartoons.
- In Lost in Random you have to explore the world and fight against the mechanical guards of the evil queen.
- The combat system in this game is tied to the roll of the dice and the selection of cards that give special skills.
- Writer Ryan North was involved in the creation of Lost in Random, and his work includes a comic book for Marvel Comics.
- Lost in Random is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X and Switch.
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