At its very best Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found reminds me of some of the greatest action-platformers I played back in the late 80's and early 90's. The hero of the game, a toy soldier named Brand who comes alive at night, moves and fights like Strider from Sega's eponymous arcade classic. The sprawling, toy-filled screens bring back fond memories of the Commodore Amiga game Harlequin, while the precise platforming required to tackle the dangers is reminiscent of Galahad for Sega Genesis. It's a shame Toy Odyssey can't make the best out of these obvious nods.
The game is more than a platformer as it brings elements of role-playing games and base-building into the mix, resulting in a living house where toys wander off on their at night. The lost ones, the unfortunate toys abandoned by their owners, are taken by darkness causing nightmares for children. Brand, along with a collection of other action figures he finds during his adventures, decides to help Felix, Brand's new owner, who just moved in to the house with his family.
Every night Brand goes off questing, defeating the lost ones and collecting materials to upgrade both himself and his equipment and the toy room defenses. New abilities like double jump and air dash help you survive longer each night. Whenever Brand is out of the toy box, the lost ones can raid the toy room, stealing materials or even worse, Brand's companions. Building some solid security for your home base ensures each night passes by quietly, allowing Brand to concentrate on freeing Felix from his nightmares.
Brand's animation has a nice driving frequency to it and the rooms are laid out with lots of detail. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish which platforms are accessible and which are just background decorations, at worst plummeting you straight onto the floor and taking a good chunk out of your life. The music sounds fine for the first few minutes it's playing but it soon gets on your nerves and I was happy to turn its volume down.
The house is big, some 130 screens in total, and apparently young Felix's mother is crazy for cleaning and re-arranging. You see, every time Brand dies, the game takes you to the next night and the whole layout of the house has suddenly changed. Sometimes you are sent wandering aimlessly through a maze of identical rooms without any idea where the quest objective is. Whenever you happen to fumble, the knowledge of the current layout is rendered useless.
Eventually you bump into the correct room and the story goes on. Some quests do have trackers on the map showing the direction you should be heading to, and on those occasions, reaching the goal becomes an exciting adventure, planning your route through a myriad of rooms and enemies. As you grow stronger, you live longer and grind more materials to build up both Brand and the base. Despite the random layouts, it's always the same rooms, same props, same enemies and same everything. There's not much excitement of the unknown. At the end of the day Toy Odyssey is severely lacking in variety and the game becomes more about endurance than challenge.
I tried my best to like Toy Odyssey more than I did as there's much to love about it. The idea and the execution are mostly fine but unfortunately some game design decisions made playing the game more laborious than entertaining. Toy Odyssey deserves to be more fun and exciting. Dull routines should be for parents, not for brave toy soldiers!
Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.