Are you a real gamer? Are you a real hardcore gamer? Do you like games that will punish you and leave you begging for mercy? Congratulations, Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers [$0.99] is the game for you. This auto-run-and-gun game boasts fantastic art, well-done gameplay, and tough difficulty. Perhaps too tough for most: its progression gating that is so punishing that you'll beg to pay money to the developers to take shortcuts. And the game will look down at you and whisper "No."

Lost Socks 1

Lost Socks has you controlling a well-armed anthropomorphic sock, always running forward with the ability to slowly descend on jumps. As well, this eponymous lost sock carries two kinds of guns – a weaker primary gun and a stronger weapon with longer recharge time. Rounding out your abilities is a dash attack that can burst through enemies and projectiles. All sorts of combos can be done with these, with recognized rewards for blasting multiple enemies at once, dashing through bullets, and more. All come with appropriate visual flourishes. The levels also have stars that you can collect by freeing prisoners in cages; you not only have to go down the path they're in, but you also need to dash through the cage. This little note is a particular challenge because you often have to dash to get to the cages, and then try to dash through them!

The levels are scripted, so you can learn how they work, but the threats are constant and numerous. You're reacting to everything coming at you and using your weapons and abilities well. You'll be trying to time the cooldowns in such a way that you aren't left helpless to a potential threat. The levels are also multi-layered with tons of branching paths, so you are bound to discover something new with each run. The game does give you indicators for whether a star is going to be down the path of your choice or whether it just has lots of coins.

Lost Socks 2

Lost Socks feels a lot like a Rayman game in a way that's both familiar, but nonspecific. I can't quite put my finger on it. The art style is fluid like the Rayman games, and it is an auto-runner like Rayman Fiesta Run [$2.99], yes. But it's a run-and-gun game. And the art style is definitely different. The protagonist feels similar, but not quite? The difficulty and maybe the levels remind me of Rayman Classic [$4.99]? But still, there's nothing specific about this at all that should feel like Rayman but it still vaguely does, yet still like its own thing in a good way. And the production values are fantastic on Lost Socks. It's a vibrant, colorful game that's animated well. It's detailed without feeling cluttered. There's just enough in the way of visual effects to make the world feel alive, and not let interactive environmental elements blend in too much.

And the quality extends to the gameplay. The combat gives you lots of options. It is satisfying to do things like dash through enemy bullets, then launch a rocket to take out 3 enemies at once. The button layout with three attack buttons on the right side means there's going to be some mis-taps in the heat of battle. Regardless, the combat is so much fun that it's satisfying to just jump back in and blast all the enemies. It's the kind of game that just melts into your hands.

Lost Socks 3

Lost Socks feels a lot like a game that was once meant to be free-to-play, with the different weapons and perks you can buy, not to mention the three-star system and winding level path. I can surmise one of two things happened here. One is that the developers were just inspired by free-to-play games, but wanted to do so in a premium hardcore mobile action game. It's the best of both worlds, where you get the familiar progression of free-to-play games, but without the IAP. Or perhaps late in the game's development they decided to switch to paid, taking out all the in-app purchases and just giving out more coins to where buying new guns and upgrades is easier.

The rub is that unlocking new weapons and levels is kind of difficult that the Vatican could decree it as proper penance for your sins. See, each level has 3 stars, and a high score super-star. Getting the 3 stars is tough enough as it is, as you have to follow certain paths in levels and execute certain actions in time. That's not to mention completing the level in one piece. There's no checkpoints, either. The stars are necessary to unlock better weapons, along with the later parts of the game. But do not be a fool like me, and don't go for the super-stars at all. You will hit a wall where you will get underpowered weapons and can't progress further without getting many of the super-stars. To wit, I got focused on getting 3 stars in levels, mostly ignoring the super-stars as getting the requisite amount of points is rather trying. Behold my surprise when I got to the 3rd world's gate: I had several more unlock points to get, only possible through the super-stars.

Lost Socks 4

Now, some people will enjoy this brutality. You pretty much have to 100% this game. But if you're someone who wants to just play the game and enjoy it, well, too bad! You have to master Lost Socks to progress. If you throw your device down at any point, I wouldn't blame you, because this game is Dethphone-level brutal. Maybe old school games were difficult and didn't let you continue, but Lost Socks puts up a good fight to just play through it normally! Then it makes you be an MLG-tier expert at it just to get to the position where you could play through the levels to beat it. You will beg for in-app purchases for better weapons or to unlock the later parts of the game. And Lost Socks will give you no reprieve. All must suffer.

Somehow, the game somehow manages to be this cruel without being all that frustrating and unfair. The quick restarts when you die and the generally short levels help out with that. There's just something about the way the entire game comes together that counteracts its brutality. The game puts a task at your feet, to progress through the game, which feels impossible. It should make you want to give up and go play something a bit more friendly and possible. And yet, the game is so compelling that it somehow manages to make me not want to rage quit and delete the game. The idea of going back and getting those near-impossible super-stars seems somewhat palatable. I'm glad I'm done playing this game, but the fact that it's somehow still fun despite seeming hopeless is a ridiculous achievement for Lost Socks. Only the most hardcore gamers should play this, but those who do will find a challenge worthy of them.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • nkarafo

    Nice review!

  • Евгений Пупкин

    strange I didn't find it too hard as you said. and I want to say I don't like hardcore games at all. but despite this the game is awesome!

  • Марат Биктимиров

    Thanks, nice review

  • MistaBoz

    This review is spot on!!! I'm still in sector 1.8 ... LOL I'm surprised you didn't mention Earthworm Jim as a similar game... This game is like that one too!

  • spader623

    Good review. It's a great game but holy crap it is brutal in its difficulty so it's definintly not for everyone.

  • whitestatic

    We would have also accepted, "Lost Socks is the game we deserve, but not the game we need."

  • rezn

    I'm only like 6 levels in but I expected a 5 star review on this game without a doubt. It's just incredible. Maybe it's the scripted levels that knock it down a tad. If levels auto generated it would be even harder but it would increase replay value even more. As well, the feel of it being a free-to-play without being a free-to-play is rather genius imo. It is fair to say though as Carter puts it, this game is for fans of the Difficult and Punishing genre. If you don't like a great challenge then this game is not for you. But if you do, like I do, then buy this game and get a copy for your best friend too. Because it is gorgeous and supremely fun to play.

  • Naughty brothers

    Good review :) tnx u
    Join the game 😀

  • Touchmint

    Hey man enjoyed watching you play on mobcrush the other night it was pretty intense needed to be prefect!

  • DavetheDave

    Bought it after seeing the TouchArcade mention, didn't like it at all... the controls ruined it for me. To each their own.

  • lifeat78

    I love this game. It rewards paying close attention amid the chaos, to find the patterns in the enemies and bullets, to find the tricks and traps. It's hard, sure, but I haven't found it impossible. Got stuck on 1-7 and 1-8 for a while until I found the tricks. Just a load of fun, especially with the great visuals.

  • Quazonk

    Man, I bought this game and after reading this review I don't really feel like playing it anymore lol.

  • eventide

    I'd rather have a controller in my hand with a game this challenging. Touch controls suck the fun out of the game to the point I want a refund.

  • zinkdogg

    Love the game. I haven't played anything else in the last week. I do have problems with mistapping the dash button. But, it seems more like it happens more when I'm frustrated by screwing up in hard spots. I'm not gonna say the controls are bad, but the option to move buttons around would be welcome. I'm on 2-8 with all world 1 three starred and most super-starred. I think I need to unlock the last 2 primary and heavy weapons and like half the perks. I'm really enjoying the challenge of this game. 😍😕😖😩😍

  • MajesticLobster

    I agree with the general sentiments, this is a good game with punishing difficulty...luckily it's fun to play. For what it's worth, I found the music even tougher to take than the difficulty, and turning it off helps emphasize the great sound effects. Definitely not for everybody.

  • Pepelutin

    Thanks for the review. I like the visuals, i would like to play, but i'm really not a hardcore gamer. I play five minutes sometimes in a week, so i would never be able to play this one.

  • Tom Sawyer

    Land sliders game of the year, lost socks: 4 star review. Toucharcade, where are you going?

    "Only the most hardcore gamers should play this ..."

    This is definitely one of the most awesome games ever, and the major ios gaming website is literally telling people not to buy it. Toucharcade, this is not the first time you are disappointing me, (hell no!), but it's the worst case for sure.

    IOS gamers, please don't get scared away! This game is made with so much love, and it's so much fun to play! And it's not too hard - it's just challenging. That's part of the game, and an important one at that. You need to memorize the whole level to free all three prisoners, and sometimes to get the gold star, but when you finally managed it, you'll open your window and let the world hear your "boooyaaa!!!".

    Yeah, you'll stuck sometimes, but wouldn't it be boring to just run through a game like this? While you progress you'll get new weapons, each with it's own skill and sound, that will help you to move on. Or to come back to get some particulary tricky gold star. I'm right in the middle of the game, and I have a nice feeling of progression, having all 4 stars until 2.4. And anyway, there is so much kaboom! dash! open the hidden passage! pew pew pew action, including slow motion sequences, making you feel like being in the middle of a hollywood blockbuster, that you will keep constantly grinning like a moron even when you die. Especially since you'll learn you'll make it eventually!

    I'm pretty sure it must be hell to sell a game for five bucks these days. In the german app store there are only three feedbacks at this time, two of them one star, complaining that the game is unplayable due to "too much buttons". The developers could have easily gone the f2p route, but they decided to do a full premium game, the thing we all want, reportedly. And hell yeah, they delivered premium! But instead giving them all the love we can gather, people get told not to buy it. I'm really sorry, but Are you friggin kidding me?! Anyway, I don't think these devs will do this mistake again, not least thanks to this "review". Well done.

    I'm definitely not a hardcore gamer, just a gamer, as in I love ios games, a thing I miss on this platform lately. But maybe you are bound to loose the fun when you do things as a job for years. In fact, while reading this I thought Carter probably had the same fun with this game I would have if I had to read all seven Harry Potters within three days, standing on a bus stop in the middle of new york. Please, please, please don't let this guy befool you! This game is pure awesomeness! Just get it, make sure you got your headphones on and have fun!

    And while still looking at you, toucharcade: THIS is a goty!

    • Александр Зенин

      Thanks you so much! This is a real pleasure to read reviews like that. We will do our best to make everything better. And maybe someday TouchArcade will rereview our game.

  • http://javatune.co drunk_vader

    Brilliant game from every perspective; art, gameplay and soundtrack! Well worth the money and it is probably my iOS GOTY so far. Bravo to the developers from St. Petersburg, Russia. :) Hope you keep up the great work with more levels and of course new games. You've got my support!

    P.S.: Yes, it's not as easy as Rayman: Jungle Run or Fiesta, but the it's not so brutal as some would want to describe it, and I consider myself a casual gamer.

Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 4