For sale: One deserted island. Fixer-upper with miles of private, sandy beach. Ample food, water, and space to explore. Bring backpack, zippo, sleeping bag. Gun big enough to drop a gorilla from close range and every episode of Crocodile Hunter on DVD also advised.
Lost in Blue 2 – whose logo also includes a small bird that we can’t find the symbol for anywhere on our keyboard – is a strange sort of game. It’s the story of two young people shipwrecked on a jungle island, faced not only with typical video game enemies like wolves, tigers, and crocodiles, but with subtler, more dangerous foes: hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and despair at the realization that there is exactly one person to get jiggy with, and there isn’t a bottle of mouthwash anywhere in sight.
Think of The Sims, paired with the TV show Survivor or the movie The Castaway, and you’ll have the basic idea. In fact, The Sims is an especially good comparison because both games suffer from the same handicap: they’re most difficult right at the beginning.
Why? Because that’s when your hunger is the most difficult to satisfy. Water and shelter are found almost instantly, but food is another story. Early on, it’s mostly seaweed, clams, and coconut for you, so you’re going to spend huge amounts of time fighting your stomach. But then, you’ll find a stick that you can use to spear fish, which fill you up better and free up more of your day to explore. Then, when you learn to trap small animals and arch arrows into the sides of larger ones, your island world truly expands.
Being aware of this odd pacing is important, because a large percentage of players who try Lost in Blue 2 – regardless of whether they choose to play as Jack or Amy – are going to quit, frustrated, before it hits its stride. But it does get good. Few other games can make you this happy to find a rock or a stick, and the relationship between the two main characters is tender and compelling (though you will wish they'd pitch in a little more).
The vast majority of this will be familiar to those who played the first game, but there’s a bit new here, too. Whether you’re dodging and jabbing in first-person to fend off wild predators, microphone-grunting to speak to a gorilla, recovering after a hurricane or earthquake, playing fire-making, harpooning, or milking mini-games wirelessly with another DS owner, making a necklace, or just discovering a new flower that you can use to flavor your food in the cooking mini-game, this is a different adventure, and one worth embarking upon.
Just don’t expect it to be easy. As it turns out, being stranded is nothing like the TV show Lost.