The video game development studio known as Zoink is small and not talked about as much as they should be. They have some underrated and incredible titles in their portfolio such as Flipping Death, Ghost Giant, Fe, Zombie Vikings, and Stick it to The Man!. They’re a studio who focuses on immersive storytelling, beautiful artwork, and weird ideas. The release of their newest game, Lost in Random, is on the horizon, and it looks like it can be their best yet.
Published by EA, Lost in Random takes gamers to a dark kingdom where every citizen’s future is determined by the roll of a die. Using tabletop mechanics in a 3D adventure video game sounds risky, but could open the door for one of the most unique gameplay experiences ever. Let’s take a look at all the intriguing details in the game’s story and gameplay trailers in preparation of its release.
Official Story Trailer
The first element of the trailer that quickly draws any attention is the artwork. It’s dark, creepy, twisted, and yet somehow whimsical. It resembles that of a Tim Burton tale.
The story trailer is narrated by a haunting voice who mentions that everyone’s destiny is controlled by “a roll of the one true dice and the one true Queen who controls it.” I don’t know if it’s the eerie narration, the dark artwork, or the portrait of the Queen herself, but she seems especially creepy. Her mask and attire make her appear intimidating and terrifying. Her mask also makes one think that part of the story may be a mystery centered on who she really is.
The narrator then explains that “when a child comes of age, they must roll the dice once and determine their fate for all of eternity.” Does that mean there can’t be any hopes or dreams? There’s no planning for the future or having any goals? That sounds like a horrible existence, but an interesting concept for world building. Also, the writers apparently don’t know the singular and plural differences for dice.
A terrifying robot spider monster attacks a child’s birthday celebration, in case we weren’t already aware that the game was going for a dark tone. The child is then informed by a strange-looking person that the Queen herself is paying her a visit on her birthday. Whether that’s good or bad is unclear, but given that the Queen looks like Lady Gaga as a supervillain, it’s probably not a wanted visit.
The child is told that she’s to roll the dice to determine what kind of person she truly is. There’s apparently a unique social class system in this world, where it seems that those who roll high are treated with more respect than those who roll lower numbers. The person with the Queen announces that the child is to live with them now because she rolled a 6. Living with royalty probably isn’t the worst thing in the world, but her family isn’t too happy with the outcome, so it likely also means that this child, now introduced as Odd, will no longer be able to see her family anymore.
Odd’s sister, the playable character known as Even, ventures off to rescue her. Not too far in her quest, Even is attacked by a mech soldier with a giant hammer. Perhaps her luck isn’t as great as her sister’s. Thankfully, she’s saved by an adorable little dice creature who will serve as a trusty sidekick throughout the game.
Even is threatened by the Queen to turn back, and a citizen warns her about the dangers of her quest. It’s doubtful this is a world safe for a child to explore. That being said, bigger dangers in a video game allow for more fun and suspense.
We get more glimpses of the creatures in this world, and they are pure nightmare fuel. One of them asking her “haven’t you heard the bedtime stories” doesn’t help that either. It’s unclear if these beings are enemies to fight or if they’re just part of the story, but they match the description of “sleep paralysis demons” a little too perfectly.
An old woman tells Even that she’s “a long way from One Town.” Does everything in this world have a pun name? One can hope, because that could lead to some silly and fun moments. Also, it could lead to a lot of creative concepts if the developers took the ideas and names first and designed the characters and locations around them.
Another being is shocked to see the dice and says that he hasn’t seen any real ones in years. Are these dice creatures a rare commodity in this world? This is a good line to build lore while also making the dice feel important and powerful.
After that is when things get truly interesting. The Queen rolls a 5 on a die, causing the citizens of Random to transform. The Queen and her dice seem extremely powerful, and the citizens are subject to their will. The trailer is setting her up to be quite a threatening villain.
Text shows on the screen mentioning breaking the curse of Random. The town is cursed, but is it because of the Queen, the dice, or something else entirely? What does this curse entail exactly?
We get our first glimpse of that sweet gameplay as Even serves up melee combos and long-ranged slingshot attacks against more mechanical soldiers. There looks to be a wide variety of attacks as she also performs a spin move to take down multiple enemies. Her new dice friend is by her side through all of it.
There’s then some brief looks at some unique imagery, like a woman shooting cannon balls out of the side of her dress and a gargantuan giant mech battle. The action is worth looking forward to just as much as the gorgeous artwork.
Even shouts “tell me where my sister is, you witch!” There’s witchcraft here, too? This is getting insane. It seems like she’s shouting that at the individual who was with the Queen earlier. The Queen working with a witch sounds like bad news for the citizens of Random.
After a look at a giant frog beast, someone grabs Even and calls her a “Oner.” We know she’s from One Town. Perhaps it’s because her parents rolled 1s on the dice and are seen as lower class citizens because of it. Assuming the world is set up in numerical order, starting off in One Town and journeying to the castle where the 6s reside seems like quite the quest. As a gamer who appreciates great adventures, bring it on!
Even sees Odd surrounded by darkness as a maniacal laugh sounds. Odd rolled a 6. Shouldn’t she be treated better than this?
The Queen gives a mask identical to hers (and eerily similar to the Court of Owls from Batman) to a young girl. The Queen then convinces this young girl that they need to destroy those who stand in her way. Who is this young girl? Is it Odd? What is it that the Queen is setting out to do? It’s a safe assumption that we’ll have to wait to actually play the game in order to get these answers.
The story trailer ends there, and it’s hard not to be invested and intrigued immediately. The world building seems well thought-out, the story looks immersive, the action appears incredibly fun, and the imagery is twisted and whimsical at the same time. It looks to be a unique tale that absolutely has to be experienced.
Official Gameplay Trailer
Immediately, the gameplay trailer kicks off like it’s a fairy tale being read out of a story book. The dark, yet whimsical artwork quickly draws attention. It’s extremely eye-catching, but it doesn’t match how the gameplay will actually look. Maybe this 2D style will be used for certain cutscenes.
The main sister characters being named Odd and Even tells us that we’re in for a lot of silly puns throughout this game. Let’s hope they take full advantage of that concept whenever possible because, again, that could lead to some creative characters and locations.
The same narrator of the story trailer explains that Odd and Even were “separated by an evil Queen and the roll of a dice.” There’s no hiding that this Queen is a true villain. Villains that are clearly evil can be a lot of fun, and it’s hard not to be happy to see one in a story since the likes of Disney and other studios have fallen into the habit of only focusing on last minute surprise villains. Let’s have over-the-top, mustache-twirling baddies again!
The trailer then switches to the 3D art style seen in the story trailer that the game will actually focus on. The narrator reiterates that Even will set off on an adventure to rescue her sister with the help of the living dice block.
Now is when the trailer gets to the action-packed gameplay, and it’s far from a generic beat ‘em up. Even performs a lunge attack on one of the mechanized soldiers, but there’s something even more interesting on the right side of the screen. An image of a D20 shows along with text that reads “Critical Twenty: Summons a demonic 20-sided dice that damages any being in its path. It exists for 20 seconds. Oh, and it bounces off anything it hits!” It appears there are dice rolls being made during the gameplay that affect the outcome of the combat, blending an element of luck with your skill. The word “damage” is listed under that text, so perhaps there will be different types of rolls that can be made and “damage” is just one of them.
The next brief scene shows the die being moved around. The text on the right now shows a 1 was rolled and reads “It’s a BOMB! Shoot it to activate it! (Come to think of it, it’s more like some kind of mine).” The word “Hazard” is written on the bottom of the text box, confirming that there are multiple different types of rolls that can be made. A bomb then blows up from on top of the die. The way the text in these scenarios is phrased indicates the style of humor that will be used throughout the game.
Even then shouts “come on, Dicey!” This finally gives us the name of her adorable dice companion. He then resumes following her like before.
Even’s slingshot briefly becomes a bow that she uses to take down a massive enemy. This is the first time we see how diverse her weapon can be. Where is a child getting all these dangerous items from? Did Dicey come packing heat?
The next few shots in the trailer showcase gameplay outside of the combat. Even and Dicey balance along a metal pipe, then work together to push buttons simultaneously, and then ride a playing card up a pulley like it’s a door in Monsters, Inc. This is all evidence of platforming and puzzles being used throughout the game, and that it’s not all about fighting bad guys. Let’s hope the puzzles are enough to bend the mind and aren’t too straightforward.
We do see more combat next, though. This time, judging by the health bar, it’s footage of a boss fight against an evil Nanny. What’s particularly interesting here is that Dicey is riding on Even’s back like a backpack. Multiple dice then stack on top, adding to her backpack of dice. Do these new dice add to the number rolled? What does this move actually do during the combat? Unfortunately, those are more questions that will only be discovered once the game releases.
A spooky skeleton wants them to follow him, and they’re being stalked by the same creepy zipper guy from the story trailer. This time, though, it appears that this zipper demon actually wishes to help the heroes out.
Another character we’re introduced to is a fish man in a tattered tophat. The narrator claims this individual won’t be as helpful. What’s worth noting in this scene with the fish guy is that the player can choose between different dialogue options. This could either just be for fun, or completely change the path of the story. This game keeps getting more in-depth as these trailers continue.
In true Legend of Zelda style, Even uses her slingshot to break objects that spawn collectable coins. Making the game EVEN more in-depth (pun definitely intended), the narrator tells us that the coins can be traded in for cards. A merchant wearing a wardrobe (he must be super buff if he’s able to walk around like that) offers to sell cards to Even. We then see the shop and various purchasable cards. Cards like “Blink Attack,” “Mega Elixir,” “Super Elixir,” “Ooma’s Embrace,” “Explosive Dice,” and more are shown. The narrator tells us that cards contain new attacks and abilities. It’ll definitely be exciting to see how these cards shake up the gameplay. Perhaps they can be used to customize a playthrough enough that it’s worth working through the story multiple times with different builds.
The narrator says the cards “come in handy during Dice Battle.” Is “Dice Battle” different from standard combat, or is it a fancy name for all of the combat in the game?
Even shoots down some flying foes, indicating there’s a variety of enemies to battle against in the game. During this same scene, the always-helpful narrator then explains that defeated enemies drop energy cubes to feed Dicey. Once fully charged, Even can roll Dicey to see how the outcome of the combat can be changed. Time freezes, allowing Even to choose a card to play.
While facing off against another boss, a giant scarecrow monster, Even shoots at an 8-sided die. It’s not clear what it does, but apparently there are different-sided dice in the game. Perhaps they each have different purposes.
There are a handful of more shots of the combat, and it’s mostly elements of the gameplay we’ve already seen earlier in the trailer. We do, however, get a better glimpse at the Nanny boss fight. The Nanny appears to be that individual who was working with the Queen in the story trailer. Also, Even is wearing dice armor here. Is her attire customizable, or is this the effect of one of the cards? Either way, it looks badass.
We then see more of the platforming and exploration side of the gameplay. The warped environments make for some compelling level design. There are ladders to climb, more pipes to balance on, and large areas to explore. The narrator tells us that “all 6 realms of Random” are to be journeyed to. This further confirms there is an area dedicated to each number on a 6-sided die and Even starts her quest at 1 (or One Town) where she is from. An exciting thought is that each numbered realm may have different environments and unique level design.
After some generic shots of what appears to be cutscene footage of Even and Dicey walking and opening doors, the Queen finally speaks. In her haunting, whispered voice, she says “Shh child, you’re safe now,” then draws her sword to attack Even. The sword definitely makes her safety claim feel like a lie.
There’s definitely a lot to unpack in this gameplay trailer. Platforming, exploration, puzzles, and combat are all present, which is exciting. The dice rolls and the cards could create one of the most unique combat systems out there. The upgrade system looks to certainly add to that. The different dialogue options could further add to how crazy this game can get. If this gameplay trailer didn’t get you amped for the game, then it’s doubtful that anything could.
After watching both the story and the gameplay trailers, Lost in Random looks incredibly fun and unique. The gameplay looks incredible, and the artwork is beautiful. The story looks exciting and worth getting immersed in. The game looks dark, twisted, and somehow whimsical, creating an entertaining aesthetic. Let’s not let this game get overlooked like many other games created by Zoink.
Lost in Random is set to release on September 10, 2021 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, XBox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Origin, and Steam.