|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While it may be the spiritual successor to a game that was first released on the GameBoy Color, Lost in Blue really came into its own on the DS. The fist was solid, the series peaked with the second entry, and the third was a bit of a letdown. Now the series comes to the Wii, and, unfortunately, it picks up right where the last DS game left off: in a downward spiral.
Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked initially puts you in the role of Aidan, the son of a businessman whose ship sinks when a fire breaks out on board. Aidan falls off the escape boat and ends up on an island, where its up to him and his monkey Hobo to figure out how to survive. Its the basic Lost in Blue formula for plot, but this time around Ive found there are some pretty disappointing issues with the story.
Lost in Blue as a series does not revolve around plot, but Ive always found the storytelling mechanisms quite interesting; its really player-driven and its like youre playing through the story of your own island adventure. The characters have always seemed real enough, with Shipwrecked, however, thats been lost. Exploration still plays a significant role, but Aidan is a ridiculously annoying main character, and the other survivors that he inevitably meets up with are no better. He seems a bit too excited about being stranded on an island and is more worried that his water bottles half-empty than the fact that his dad is nowhere to be found.
The game has some significant problems with sound, and these issues hurt the storytelling even more. In addition to constantly listening to generally boring background music and unimpressive sound effects, the voice acting is horrendous. Despite being downright bad, the lines that are acted are sporadic and random. Text scrolls by at a snails pace, and every once in a while Aidan will shout out one of his lines; its out of sync and sloppy.
As far as the actual exploration goes, Shipwrecked does a fairly good job of translating the DS experience over to the Wii. Youre left alone with a massive island, free to explore. The game operates on a time system, so during the day, youll generally find yourself hunting for food, gathering supplies, and delving further into the island.
Each Lost in Blue game has done well in expanding on the exploration concepts laid down by the predecessors, and the twist with Shipwrecked is that, very early on, you catch sight of another island off in the distance. In addition to the daily grind of feeding and taking care of yourself and your partner, one of your major goals for part of the game is trying to make it to the nearby island in search of other survivors.
By far the biggest gripe with the Lost in Blue series is the difficulty of keeping your characters alive, and thats not a problem thats been fixed by Shipwrecked. Each character has four meters: hunger, thirst, stamina, and an overall health meter. Water depletes relatively slowly and is easy to fill up; hunger, on the other hand, is constantly dropping at an alarming rate. Theres no way a teenager should be eating this much; youve got to literally stuff your characters with food to keep them from dying. Given the relative scarcity of food on the island, that can be a really difficult task.
On its own, this problem isnt terrible. Yes, it can be very annoying and you will die a number of times because of the problem with the food gauge and, to a lesser extent, the stamina gauge. What really sucks is that because youre constantly foraging for food that, on its own, wont satiate your constantly hungry teens, youre drawn away from the real fun of the game: exploration. Babysitting your characters isnt fun, but its made even worse when you realize youre missing out on something great because of it.