Review: Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked

LostInBlueShipwrecked.jpg Konami’s Lost in Blue series of survival adventures has always been a series I regret having missed in its first three iterations on the DS. I know none of them reviewed particularly well, but I enjoy adventure games and am always a sucker for something a little different, so I figured they’d be right up my alley. After apparently wearing out its welcome on Nintendo’s portable, Lost in Blue has now found itself lost on a new platform with the recent release of Shipwrecked for the Wii, and finally I’ve gotten my chance to see what the series is all about. Sadly, I’ve also finally realized now why the first three games were largely panned.

Frankly, Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked just isn’t a fun game. It’s very much a busy-work type of experience. As a shipwrecked boy named Aidan, you are stranded on a deserted island and must hunt, gather, explore and create – activities that take the form of various mini-game challenges — in order to survive the perils of nature by using nature itself.

On paper this premise sounds promising, and in certain areas things do work out. Many of the mini-games utilize the Wii motion-sensing interface well and are actually quite enjoyable in the context of an adventure game (you can play unlocked mini-games from the main menu, but in that context that don’t hold up to repeated play), be it fishing (both spear and rod-and-reel styles), Cooking Mama-esque cooking games, rafting, building new tools, starting fires and so on.

The problem is that you have to suffer through so much other nonsense to get to the mini-games that the experience as a whole is ruined. In order to create anything you first have to wander the island to gather the necessary ingredients, such as twigs, seaweed, coconuts, vines, animal skins, stones, and berries, and doing so is such a chore. For one thing, Aidan moves along at a snail’s pace, and his animations are so bad that as you move him around it looks like he’s just sort of floating on the surface of the terrain. Gathering items typically doesn’t take too long, but unfortunately you have such a limited inventory space that you’ll fill up your bag in short order and then have to spend time every few minutes micromanaging what items to keep and what items to toss away.

This type of overbearing micromanagement is the bane of this game’s existence. Even worse is how you must constantly monitor the vitals of your characters. Over time their thirst, hunger and stamina gradually decline, so you have to frequently stop to rest, find a fresh water source and whip up food. Even when you explore the island by yourself and leave Lucy (another survivor you eventually meet up with) back at base camp her vitals will decline, so you either have to leave enough supplies with her or venture all the way back when she’s in need of a pick me up. The survival system itself doesn’t bother me, just the fact that it’s so prevalent that you are rarely afforded more than a few minutes of seamless gameplay before you’re back hassling with menu screens and stat management.

Not much more I can really say about Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked. It’s a lifeless, unintuitive adventure of extreme boredom that doesn’t deserve your time or hard-earned cash, even as a rental. Leave this one stranded on the shelf, folks, and live to play another game.

SkipIt.jpg

Pros:
+ Most of the mini-games are fairly entertaining
+ While certainly dated, the graphics have a colorful charm about them

Cons:
– Island exploration and item fetching is extremely tedious
– Constantly having to monitor survival attributes gets annoying fast
– Terrible audio, especially the voice overs
– Floaty character animations

Game Info:
Platform: Wii
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Hudson Soft
Release Date: 9/23/08
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1-2

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!