Zonk Games’ ‘Nightmare before Christmas’-inspired game harnesses the team’s creativity for maximum effect
Zoink Games just finished “Ghost Giant” and the team was ready for a new project. Coming off a bright and cheery VR game, creative director Olov Redmalm wanted to explore a different subject — a dark fairy tale. They tested out ideas, but it wasn’t until he saw a certain painting that everything crystalized.
He saw an image of a girl and dice in a board game world. It sparked a conflagration of ideas. “It opened up a world of possibilities,” he said. That vision coalesced into “Lost in Random,” a project that won the Best Indie Award at Gamescom 2021.
After previewing the game, the honor should come as no surprise. “Lost in Random” will likely be one of the critical darlings of the holiday season. It has a distinctive art style that’s inspired by stop-motion classics such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, but the more notable part of the project is how it blends rhapsodic creativity with gameplay that meshes seamlessly into the game’s theme.
A TALE OF SISTERHOOD
“Lost in Random” follows two sisters Odd and Even. They’re both citizens of the Kingdom of Random, and in this realm, once a child turns 12, they’re visited by the Queen who lets the youth roll the one true dark dice. The number determines the child’s lot in life. When Even’s older sister, Odd, hits that milestone, she’s accosted by the Queen’s minions and forced to follow tradition.
Odd ends up with a six, and she’s whisked away to live in Sixtopia, which is supposed be a magical paradise. That leaves Even without her best friend for a year. Despondent, she dreams about her sibling, and these visions cause her to worry, so she embarks on a journey to visit Odd. She stows away aboard a ship with a man named Herman who is looking for his son in Fiveopolis.
Unfortunately, the voyage doesn’t go smoothly and Even lands on a strange place full of dice and monsters. It’s apparently the ruins of the No Dice War, which apparently led to the Queen being in power. After being threatened by armored creatures, Even’s adventure looks to be cut short, but then then Dicey, her diminutive companion, arrives on the scene. This is when “Lost in Random” picks up and players figure out the basics of the combat system.
ROLLING THE DICE IN COMBAT
Dicey is the centerpiece and his powers are used with a stack of cards. First off though, Even has to shoot crystals off the adversaries with her slingshot and collect them. If the resource is in the middle of enemies, players can send Dicey to pick them up. The crystals are essential because they power the abilities on the cards. As players draw a hand, they’ll notice numbers on each of the five cards. Players can activate the power on the card by spending the appropriate crystals.