Lost in Blue 2 DS Review
Imagine a disaster of the greatest variety. Traveling across the seas on an elaborate school trip, the cruise ship you're on mysteriously begins taking on water. In panic you have the time to grab one thing, and obviously your Nintendo DS is the first thing that comes to mind. The water rushes in and with it consciousness rushes out. You wake to the sound of seagulls and open your eyes to a scuttling crustacean. He seems busy. You're on a deserted island, but thank goodness you've remembered your DS. For a moment you think you should have gone for the cellphone or flare gun. "Poppycock," you say, and open your DS case hoping all is dry and in working order. Immediately, you face more fear than the sinking of a cruise ship could ever have instilled. There's only one game rattling around in the case. It's Lost in Blue 2. You're in trouble.
Somewhere along the line Konami thought survival could be fun. Sure, a lot of other companies thought it as well. So instead of fighting, you hid from zombies. Instead of running across the ledge, you shimmied across carefully. Games generally rely on making the player want to survive, except you're not surviving in the, for lack of a better word, real sense. Mario doesn't need to stop for a bathroom break, and Sonic doesn't need a Powerbar before a quick run. Lost in Blue wants players to remember what real survival is like. The game wants you to remember to eat, sleep, and drink. If not, the characters are going to start losing health dramatically. I guess that sounds pretty realistic to me.
It shouldn't take gamers too long to realize why Sonic doesn't need to eat. That sort of realism, it just isn't fun. To an extent it could add something to gameplay, but Lost in Blue 2 is relentless. The characters need to eat and drink so often that it is almost literally impossible to gather enough food to actually stifle their hunger, and the food gathered adds a measly almost insignificant bonus to their hunger meter. It is possible to overcome this, but it's definitely never enjoyable.
At some point the idea of what is enjoyable must have walked out on Konami. Not only is the game structured to make the player feed their two characters as if they were monstrous gluttons, but the game is in short, a never ending hand holding session. Gamers have been lauding the escort missions in other games for years, well; Lost in Blue 2 is, in its entirety, an escort mission. Choosing either the male or female character from the start makes the opposite choice the tag-along character. Players will be feeding, cooking, offering drinks and corralling around the other character. Sure, it's possible to leave the player at camp, and it's probably preferable, but your partner in survival isn't exactly intelligent enough to do stuff sufficiently on their own. I can't blame them too much, the whole taking a drink concept seemed confusing for me too, well into my teenage years.
Lost in Blue 2 clearly fails at delivering the point of most games: fun. If anything, at least the game succeeds in looking good while not being very enjoyable. The 3D visuals are admirable for the DS, and you'll get the opportunity to see lots of different animals and objects, most in the cooking minigame, which in reality isn't much of a minigame at all. Cooking is like the actual game, and exploration and everything else are the minigame.
It's a damn shame too, because exploration is where Lost in Blue 2 excels. Exploring the island is the most enjoyable aspect of the game. It channels other lonely, solitary game experiences like Myst, and the subsequent feeling is haunting and fantastic. It could have been even more so if the sinking of the original ship was more of a mystery. As it propels, the story doesn't ever really deliver. Instead of propelling the storyline the game says, "That's a silly idea. Now look, your hunger meter is dropping. Better get some food."
There could be, in some way, a niche market that finds the grueling experience that is Lost in Blue 2 enjoyable. Diehard survivalists or the kind-of too old Boy Scouts with a seriously concerning collection of Merit Badges could be right at home with this game. Or maybe not, there's always that girl/relationship element in there, and I hear these guys are scared of those strange girls. Their strange smells and strange breast things tend to freak them out and make them lose their focus on the kindling and rabbit traps. Yeah, I lose focus too guys, nothing to worry about.
What's Hot: Animal encounters; nice visuals and atmosphere; the power switch
What's Not: Eating, sleeping, drinking, and all other aspects of surviving; stupid partners