Indie games, it’s always interesting when they come out because they are usually a break from the norm. This is due to the ingenuity of the developers who usually don’t have the budgets bigger studios have. What can be done by indie studios is phenomenal, so when I started Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found, from indie developers Digital Smash I was very excited. How did it all work out? Well, let’s find out.
The plot of Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found feels like something out of an old school Twilight Zone episode. You play as Brand, a toy who awakens one night to find out that the household he is in has been cursed and there is a malicious dark force behind it. As you traverse the labyrinthian rooms in the house, you have to free the enslaved toys and protect your home base from The Lost Ones, a group of toys that have been imprisoned by this force. You’ll have to battle them while protecting the toys you free all the while trying to rid the house of the curse.
Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found is a fascinating game, from its design to the layout of the “levels” everything feels oddly nostalgic. The character models are gorgeous, they look like moving paintings, and the backgrounds are just as well designed. All of this is given life by the eerie score which lends the game an edge while you run through each level battling enemies and saving imprisoned toys.
Now to the meat of Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found, the gameplay. The player has to go from room to room finding resources to keep their base secure as well as to power themselves up to get even in further into the house. Each room is brimming with baddies for you to kill, traps to avoid and treasures to uncover. An interesting design decision is that each room layout is randomly generated meaning it’s difficult to prepare for whatever you’re about to face. You’ll also have to be careful that you don’t get surprised by hordes of enemies and killed because when you get killed you begin it all over again. And this happens a lot because the AI of the enemies are on point, from the spiders, rats to the velociraptors ( you read that right) the enemies come in many shapes and sizes and can easily overwhelm you if you’re not strong or prepared enough.
To help you battle the fiends in the household you can upgrade your gear to empower Brand, a nice touch with this feature is that Brands armour changes every few levels giving him a whole new aesthetic design. It’s a small touch, but it’s appreciated. There are tons of equipment, weapons, and gadgets to help you through the obstacle course that is the house and each of these can be upgraded as well though you need blueprints first to gain access to them and then an assortment of items to build them. This avenue of Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found is deep, and you can get lost in it as you try to get that particular weapon of choice. I love the heavy weapon types, the Golden Sword I currently wield has helped me survive many battles.
I did find problems with Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found, the gameplay is charming, but it’s lost over time as it doesn’t evolve past a certain point. You go into a room, try and clear it out of enemies, avoid the traps and then get into the next room and do the exact thing in that room and so on and so forth. There are moments where there are brief glimmers of variation; the boss fights are the prime example. They reminded me of Tombi; you find the doors that let you access the bosses rooms, and then you do battle with the bosses each of which has unique abilities and weaknesses. Unfortunately, it’s not enough as the majority of missions feel like there are no stakes. After all the many of the missions are you collecting supplies or collecting certain blueprints or saving imprisoned toys which is another form of collection. There is also the tower defense aspect of Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found but it’s not fleshed out enough, you simply collect the materials and build the defenses, and that’s it. You can upgrade some of the buildings but it to me it didn’t impact meaningfully.
Other issues that I had was that the characters are incredibly two-dimensional with no strong dialogue between them to make them feel like actual characters with motivations etc. Meaning you don’t care what happens to Brand and his motley crew of warrior toys. On top of that were technical issues from importing the game from PC to console, the score for the boss battles was non-existent and I never realised how much a game needs a score until then.
With a charming design, a strong RPG element and tough as nails difficulty Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found is a lot of fun just be ready for a lot of rinse and repeat gameplay with some technical issues.