Lost in Blue 2 Review

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Publisher: Konami
Developer: KCE Hawaii

Platform: DS
Reviewed on DS

Two 18-year-olds, a boy and a girl, escaped a sinking cruise ship to find themselves marooned on an island. After waking up exhausted, thirsty and hungry, they wring the salt water from their clothes and set about the daily tasks of survival. Only after their simplest needs are met &ndash food, water and warmth – can they begin to explore the island and plot their escape back to civilization.

Kyle Ackerman

The cardinal rule of games is that they should be fun. Every activity – even failure or death – should, in some way, be a reward. A game that's not fun is simply a mechanistic way of passing the time. There's a lot in Lost in Blue 2 that should be fun. The problem is that survival activities turn play into an endless game of whack-a-mole as you keep the castaways fed and rested enough to get to the more entertaining portions of island life.

In Lost in Blue 2 you play as either the girl or the boy, assisted by – and responsible for – the other castaway. Much of the early game is occupied by simple survival. Collecting coconuts, raspberries, seaweed, mollusks, firewood and fish is interrupted only by the need to drag your companion to the river for a drink of water. Fishing, shaking trees and cooking all involve simple mini-games that quickly become repetitive.

If you can keep the two survivors alive, they will begin to fall into a routine, discover or make objects that make their life easier, and eventually explore well beyond the beach upon which they originally washed. As they acquire useful tools and explore the wider island, the game gets more interesting. But fundamentally, the core survival gameplay is a chore – not fun. The most compulsive gamers may find stockpiling enough firewood and prepared food to go exploring to be rewarding, but for most gamers, it just seems like work.

A lot of players complained about old-school role-playing games in which far too much time was occupied by collecting food, managing that food in a character's inventory and making sure that character ate at the right time. Lost in Blue 2, like its predecessor, makes a game out of that activity. This sequel does add more mini-games and activities, but is also harsher in that it requires even more time be spent managing the basic needs of the castaways. The first time I lit a fire, it was fun. The tenth time I lit a fire, it was an irritation. The two hundredth time I flipped a piece of fish on the fire, I was ready to stop playing.

Lost in Blue 2 executes the survival concept well. Except that the game could stand to be more forgiving, it is an improvement in most ways over the original Lost in Blue. Unfortunately, the core survival gameplay is designed to appeal to players most interested in keeping gauges filled. Those who would prefer to enjoy a story, explore an island, or just decorate a cave, may find the basic survival too distracting for the overall game to be fun.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 19, 2007 11:59 AM.

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