I know, I know – I went all the way back to 2016, but still, I thought that this game needs to be reviewed. It’s still a game I fondly remember and play from time to time. Why? Let’s see…
You play as a sock. Yeah, one of them, because your bro sock got lost somewhere and you have to find him… by destroying a whole lot of enemies and environment. This is a platformer in which your character moves by himself all the time, your job is just to direct him when to jump, shoot, dash or whatever else becomes available later on. The thing is, this ‘just’ is a little tricky, because the game is notoriously hard.
I have talked about polish in video games and how important that is, being a developer myself. Polish is one of those things that you do not notice much when it’s there, but when it is lacking, you instantly know that something is simply missing from the game. Well, this game boasts what I consider great polish, and I applaud the developers for it. Nerf Game truly showed what they can do, as the art is stunning and the animations so, so fluid.
Talking a bit more in-depth, the game is an autorun and gun game that has great art, very fluid gameplay, loads of potential upgrades and well-crafted levels for the most part. It is a Free to Play game with ads. I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out – the ads will not interrupt your gameplay, and you can view them only after you have completed a level, for example, to get bonus rewards. And honestly, this is fine. I have not heard of a fairer deal when it comes to games that feature monetization through ads.
The sock that you control is a legend – he packs some serious firepower. You will have two guns – the primary gun that is your usual weapon of choice, and, of course, the secondary weapon that is much more powerful, but has certain limitations (such as Cooldown). Your most useful ability (if you ask me) is the Dash ability, which makes you invulnerable for those few frames that you are dashing, and makes you simply explode stuff along the way. This is the most useful ability mostly because you will avoid taking damage the best by utilizing this ability skillfully.
Each level has a number of stars that you can collect to increase your overall score, and those stars are usually trapped in cages that you need to pulverize by dashing through them. Be mindful of multiple roads that can be taken in many levels, because some will lead to a star and others will only lead to more cash, so you’ll be missing the stars if you take the other road.
The levels are not randomly generated, thankfully, so they can be learnt. It would be beyond brutal if it was otherwise, due to the notorious difficulty I have talked about. And, while it might seem frustrating at times, you will learn when to dash, when to use your special weapon, etc. The most important thing is timing, and you should always save abilities that have a cooldown for certain situations – for example always try to have at least one cooldown ability ready when you find yourself in danger.
The gameplay features a lot of tight mechanics all around, so you won’t find it frustrating when it comes to controls and responsiveness. The great thing about Lost Socks is that it gives you quite a bit of options when it comes to fighting – which is kind of the point since it is a run and gun game after all. Dashing through obstacles, projectiles and enemies feels great (the polish that I was talking about at the beginning of this review – it has that ‘oomph’ feeling to it), shooting and rocketing down groups of opponents is in itself immensely satisfying. Add powerups to this and you have one great shooting experience.
If it wasn’t an auto-runner, I would say that this game reminds me so much of Rayman or Earthworm Jim or some other game from the last century, but the design is modern and specifically marketed for the Free to Play model, especially when we include things like collecting stars in levels etc. But still, the artistic approach to characters and levels really reminds of those old, great games. Hey, I am not biased!
All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend this gem if you aren’t looking for something completely casual and if you enjoy a good challenge. The game can be incredibly brutal and frustrating at times, so be ready for it!