Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked has huge potential; you and a reasonably attractive member of the opposite sex (and, in this case, a pet dog and monkey – go figure) are stranded on a remote island. Only you can cook, hunt and gather, fish, and explore well enough to keep everyone alive until your rescue.
It’s a romantic, exciting premise that has been turned into sheer gold by Hollywood over and over, from Gilligan’s Island and Blue Lagoon to Survivor, or even Lost. It should be a trip to paradise – how could it go wrong? Simple: By designing gameplay that’s less like sipping Mai Tais and exploring a lush tropical wonderland and more like using chop sticks to carry an ice cream cone across the Sahara while wearing roller skates.
The big problem is that you spend far too much of the game – especially early on, when you should be easing into things - satisfying your three basic needs: food, water, and rest. This leaves you very little time to explore the island for better ways to slake your thirst, quell your hunger, or take that nap, let alone pursuing the rudimentary storyline. Your characters eat as if they have tapeworms, drink like they’re fish-men in danger of drying out, and have all the stamina of a narcoleptic with low blood sugar.
Sure, your pets help a little (the monkey is a nimble climber, the dog digs), we appreciate the co-op modes and the roughly 40 mini-games that you work through to cook, hunt, dig, and whatever are various degrees of not tedious. But overall it’s just too much work to really keep a person interested. And when the audio, graphics and visual design aren’t adding to the appeal, it’s a little too likely that you’ll suddenly ask yourself, “Wait – is this actually fun, or is it just tedium?” and realize you can’t quite tell any more.
Oct 7, 2008