Toy Odyssey: The Lost and Found is an unusual combination of a metroidvania and a roguelike/roguelite. It’s a unique concept with a lot of potential, but suffers from poor execution. It has its fair share of good ideas, it’s just hit or miss.
Toy Odyssey’s presentation is decent, but suffers from some noticeable flaws. The sound design is somewhat unusual, specifically the soundtrack. Most of the music would feel more at home in a horror movie, rather than a lighthearted game about living toys. The music itself is well-made, even if it doesn’t fit the game’s content. The voice acting is decent, although some characters are poorly voiced; most notably, the main character is quite annoying and should have been recast in my opinion. Sound effects are fine, but forgettable. They don’t add anything to the game, but don’t hurt it much either.
Visually, Toy Odyssey looks haphazard and confusing. The art design is all over the place. Some enemies have cartoonish designs that fit right in with the lighthearted, toy-based aesthetic. Others are bizarrely realistic and clash with most of the game’s design choices. This feels intentional, because it is only the “real life” enemies that are drawn this way (rats, spiders, etc.). The toy enemies are drawn in a different style, presumably to differentiate themselves. Unfortunately, it gives the game an awkward visual contrast that doesn’t serve any in-game purpose and is usually distracting. It would have worked much better if the toys were done in a realistic style, but still looked like toys, or if the animals were drawn cartoonishly, but were still clearly animals. Similarly, the main character’s design doesn’t match with the rest of the game either. Many NPCs seem to have completely different graphic styles, none of which work well together.
The animations in Toy Odyssey are an equally mixed bag. The main character has the best animations in the game, yet the majority of enemies are simplistic and boring. Most attacks have no variation at all, giving combat a repetitive, bland feel.
When it comes to gameplay, once again, Toy Odyssey has a handful of good ideas and an equal amount of terrible ones. The combination of metroidvania and roguelite is unique, but they don’t mesh well, at least not how the developers attempted it. The levels are randomly generated, so the world map aspect of metroidvanias is largely neglected. Fast travel exists, but because the world resets each time, you have to find each point again after every death. Platforming might as well not be in Toy Odyssey, because the random level design makes every room feel the same. You can mindlessly jump through every level without even thinking about it. Once you get some jumping upgrades, it becomes nearly impossible to die from a platforming mistake.
Combat is made up of typical metroidvania mechanics. You have a standard attack, then a more specialized secondary attack that costs mana (or some other resource) to use. You unlock new weapons and gear as you progress, but combat barely changes. Enemies are generic, offering little challenge due to their basic design. The main source of difficulty involves the random spawning of enemies, sometimes even on top of you when you enter a room. A typical metroidvania has handcrafted levels, allowing enemies to be placed where they will be challenging, but also fun to fight against. Toy Odyssey just drops enemies all over the place, usually resulting in cheap damage that can’t be avoided.
The progression system is where Toy Odyssey takes the most risks, and also where the game truly falls apart. You gather resources from killed enemies and from randomized chests placed throughout each room. You then use these resources to upgrade your base defenses, construct buildings to help you create new gear, and crafting that new gear. It could have been interesting, but it requires too much grinding before you make any progress, which you quickly realize isn’t much of an improvement. You spend hours with the same gear, then get something slightly better, but ultimately, numbers just get bigger. You do more damage, but there aren’t any new mechanics or anything like that. Armor gives you some basic bonuses, but is the same throughout the game too.
In summation, Toy Odyssey is an intriguing concept with a lot of potential, but it never fully realizes it. You get bits and pieces of a good game, mixed in with a clunky, awkward genre mashup. A sequel could be great, provided the developers revamp a lot of the weakest elements.