Lost in Blue review

NGC goes on a laborious search for food, water and companionship. Just like life

You find yourself stranded on a beach with nothing but your clothes and a backpack.

You're hungry and thirsty, wet and tired, and the only thing you can do is wander around in search of food and shelter.

An investigation of the immediate area turns up some coconuts, which manage to alleviate your thirst long enough to find some bark and twigs. A nearby cave gives you enough shelter to start your first fire. You end your day alone, exhausted.

The following day brings more discoveries in the form of a girl on the beach, who is also stranded, a couple of stones and a clean supply of water. It's at this point that the game begins to take on some sort of shape.

You take the girl by the hand and lead her to your cave, where your roles become apparent (easy tiger - not that apparent).

Being the boy of the piece, it's up to you to do the hunting and gathering, as well as help your companion move around the island. As for the girl, well, she's practically blind - you may as well leave her in the cave to do the cooking. Seriously, we're not kidding.

Sexist stereotyping aside, Lost in Blue is initially charming, although incredibly tough going.

Managing your items and trying to get the most nourishment you can out of your scant resources is actually pretty tricky. You can't explore too far because you get too hungry and tired, which means that the game starts exceptionally slowly - painfully so, if the truth be told.

It's often downright infuriating, and you'll probably find that you want to give up after a few hours' play.

Searching for random scraps of seaweed to eat and figuring out which mushrooms aren't going to kill you just feels like really hard work.

And, unless you have the innate patience of a saint, the game's unnecessarily clumsy interface could well have you thoroughly despising Lost in Blue only a few brief moments after you start playing it.

But then, this is about survival and perseverance, and those with the staying power to get past the game's relentlessly laborious aspects can reap huge rewards.

The slow-burning nature of the action, for example, whilst inciting you to weep tears of bitter exasperation, does make any discoveries and progress (no matter how small) feel ludicrously exciting.

Any new item you find could help fashion a better tool, which means better food for you and your companion, which in turn means less time just sitting in a cave eating it.

You become more efficient, you understand how best to manage your time and, eventually, Lost in Blue threatens to be quite enjoyable.

There's something hugely endearing and almost primal about Lost in Blue: watching your little settlement evolve from basic squalor to something a little more homely, bringing back a kill from a hunt or unravelling the overarching mystery of the island, bit by bit, day by day.

Just when things start to feel like a chore, another discovery brings an interesting new feature or new way of exploring and hunting and, before you know it, you start to feel a strange sense of ownership about the island that once felt so hostile.

It's odd because, technically speaking, Lost in Blue is a very annoying, often clumsy little game, but the emotions it often invokes - the feelings of hardship, reward and companionship - are, at times, second to none, making it very much worth the laborious effort.

Lost in Blue is out for DS now

More Info

Franchise nameLost in Blue
UK franchise nameLost in Blue
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date27 September 2005 (US), (UK)