|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: KCE Hawaii||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 20, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Lost in Blue 2, as you may have guessed, is the follow up to the lesser known, relatively interesting Lost in Blue in 2005. Some regarded the first game to be highly inventive and praised it for such a fun and unique gameplay concept. Others said that it was far too short and a little on the annoying side. Well, two years later, the gameplay remains largely the same, but the game is longer, more intuitive, and will have you hunting, gathering, cooking and exploring for many, many, hours on end.
The game begins by placing you in either Amy or Jack's shoes (you choose) as the cruise ship they were traveling on sinks into the ocean. Your character then winds up on the beach and starts looking for survivors. You'll meet up with your companion (that character you didn't choose), and from here you'll have to (rather quickly) find food, water, and shelter. I would recommend that you choose Jack during the first playthrough because his character will give you a tutorial on what to do on the first day. Amy leaves you high and dry. I actually began as Amy and had to restart several times because I didn't know where to cook my food and starved to death.
You'll take each day at a time with your characters, spending most of your time feeding and watering both yourself and your companion. Your companion (whichever it may be) will be extremely useless, and will need you for everything. Even though you'll settle in a cave that's right next to a babbling freshwater brook, the A.I. character won't drink from it unless you physically hold their hand (yes, this is the exact command you use) and bring them to the river to drink. Although some might consider this annoying, it just means that you have to develop a strong strategy to make sure both your needs and the needs of your companion are met.
Once your physical needs are met, you'll have some time to do some exploring. The game is extremely interactive, and nearly every surface, substance, and item can be examined. This is a vital part of the game because it allows you to use what you see around you to make tools, furniture, and eventually, even domesticate animals.
Another very cool thing about the interactivity of the game is that you'll have to learn how to cook. Well. You won't fill up your survivor meter very quickly by eating raw seaweed and mushrooms. You'll have to find spices and make gourmet-quality soups, salads, and bakes to fill up your precious tummy meter. The cooking facet of the game works almost like Cooking Mama. You'll have to chop, season, and grill all your ingredients to perfection. And be careful not to burn your food!
Controls will have you using the touch screen for everything. You'll be shaking trees, cutting up vegetables, digging through sand, and even spearing fish using your stylus. You'll also be using your microphone for actions like blowing on kindling to make a fire. The game does give you the option to use your d-pad and buttons to perform some actions, but trust me it's easier to use the stylus.
Graphics are really good, especially in the opening sequence, and are going along with the trend to use more 3D models in DS games rather than the 2D sprites that were so popular in the DS' early days. Your environment is absolutely beautiful, and if it were not for the fact you were stranded there, would be an ideal place to take a tropical vacation. Of course, the game was developed in Hawaii, so it's not too surprising that the developers knew exactly what a lush tropical island paradise should look like. The camera system is also very good in Lost in Blue 2, and almost always gives you a bird's eye view of your surroundings. This makes it a little easier to figure out where you're going and how to overcome obstacles.
The sound really isn't all that great, however. You'll hear some spoken stock dialogue from the characters like "Welcome home" and "Whoa!," but that's about it in terms of voice acting. Everything else is spelled out in scrolling text either above your head or below you in moments of extended dialogue. The music isn't really good either. You'll get a couple tunes when you return home or when you enter a new area of your environment, but sometimes it's completely silent. The only really good facet of the sound scheme is the sound effects. You'll hear ocean waves crashing and wild animals calling, and it lends a touch of authenticity to the game.
In addition to the one-player mode, there's also a head-to-head survival mode where you can challenge your friends to see who the better survivor is in little mini-games of goat-milking, spearfishing, and firebuilding. The gameplay is pretty simple and self-explanatory, so you can definitely play your friends, even if they have no clue about the Lost in Blue series.
On the whole, Lost in Blue 2 is a definite improvement upon its predecessor. It wouldn't live up to "great game" status by any means, but it's fun to play when you have time and provides a nice distraction from the cold realities of life. Perhaps I exaggerate a little, but it really is a fun and relaxing game that will have you making food and exploring the jungle for as long as you want to. There's no real pressure to play (it's not real-time like Animal Crossing or Nintendogs), and it's just simple fun. Happy surviving!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer