Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked Isn’t Quite Lost

Geek Culture

This is going to be another one of those "I thought the game was kind of ‘meh,’ but my kids really got into it" reviews.

The game is Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked, the first foray of the existing handheld series onto a full-fledged game platform.  The idea is simple, but imaginative: you’re the good-natured, Goku-haired son of a wealthy CEO shipwrecked on a tropical island with your trusty pet monkey (so, you know, just the kind of everyman character we can all identify with), and you have to survive.

No, the Dharma Initiative doesn’t have anything to do with it, but there may be some "Others" on a nearby island, and not everything is as it seems.  But you delve into that later in the game.  First, you have to survive, and on a Wii title, that means mini-games.

The first mini-games will give everyone a little pause as they wonder "hey, did I accidentally put Cooking Mama in by accident?"  You wander about your little island collecting fruit, coconuts, seaweed, and even digging up clams (itself a mini-game). Then you sit down and do a little chopping with your handy knife.  If you chop your ingredients just right, the meal comes out tastier and satisfies your hunger better.  Easy as pie.

As the game goes on, you’ll go through more mini-games to build a raft and get to the bigger nearby island, start fires, build spear-fishing rigs, and so on.  On the other island, you’ll find Lucy (who looks like a Manga-zed Cindy Vortex from Jimmy Neutron) and her pet dog (no, this isn’t Golden Compass), some other folks who may or may not have been on the ship too, and other mysteries, all the while managing thirst, hunger, and stamina in a rather RPG manner.

So here’s where the difficult dichotomy of reviewing titles with your kids comes into play.  My overall impression of the game was on the poor side of the coin.  The grapics did little to tax the Wii’s powerhourse (cough, hack) capabilities.  The dubbing was erratic to the point of confusion; there’s plenty of that traditional Japanese on-screen dialogue, but one-in-seven words or phrases was actually dubbed in English as well.  The problem is, there was no rhyme or reason as to what words or phrases are dubbed.  Sometimes it’s a whole statement, sometimes just one word out of a speech bubble, often nothing.  Bizarre.

And after a while, managing your characters’ stats via mini-game became like managing your cities in Civilization, just without the depth, creativity, and fun.

The trouble with all that being: my kids were totally enjoying themselves playing the game.  Indeed, my older son came running to me with a goofy grin on his face when he figured out how to make a spear and catch the freshwater fish.  So what do I know?

The bottome line, then? If you were a fan of the DS title, love mini-games for the sake of mini-games, or have younger kids who will get into the story, this could be a good title for you.  Otherwise, you’ll be bored and unimpressed.

Wired: Imaginative setting and incorporation of mini-games.

Tired: Lousy graphics, bizarre dubbing.

Konami, $30.

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