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NDS Review - 'Lost in Blue 2'

by Steven Mills on April 21, 2007 @ 3:40 a.m. PDT

Washed ashore after their cruise ship goes down at sea, young Jack and Amy must struggle to survive as they search for a way off a deserted island. The teens must confront their worst fears as they discover the secrets and dangers that lurk behind every corner of the mysterious island.

Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Release Date: March 20, 2007

A sequel to 2005's survival-themed Lost in Blue, which debuted to mostly favorable reviews, Lost in Blue 2 is an adventure title that focuses on your ability to use quick-thinking skills and instincts to survive on a deserted island. The game brings a new feel to the survivor genre, placing the character in a life-or-death scenario in which you are forced to not only take care of yourself, but also of a fellow survivor.

You begin LiB2 by selecting your character, Jack or Amy, and a small cinematic plays that shows the tragic event leading up to your current predicament. You are on a cruise ship having a jolly time, when it begins to sink and ... you wake up on a deserted island. Your initial instincts are, "Am I alone? Are there other possible survivors?!" and to your surprise, there is another survivor — the character you didn't choose.

When you first begin, a tutorial system shows you a primary source for obtaining fresh drinking water — a river that flows through the middle of the island — and a cave to use for safety, shelter, and overall "home" for Jack and Amy. In this temporary home, you have the ability to use a rock slab to cook or cut food, a shelf to store objects, a pit to build a small campfire, two beds of grass on which to lie down and rest, and a storage spot for firewood. Later on, you discover a place to build a tree house to inhabit. While the tree house requires a good bit of materials to make, it inevitably makes life easier because of its proximity to fresh water and many of the materials required to progress further in the game.

From here, you are taught that the movement and general play style of the game revolves around the stylus and microphone. You move around the island by simply tapping the location on the touch-screen, and clicking on items at your feet once you are standing above them. Rather than the simple "click to pick up" item collection feature, LiB2 uses a more enjoyable feature where objects, such as a seashell, may be under the sand; you must "dig" them out by quickly moving the stylus back and forth on the sand. You also have the ability to shake trees, go fishing, start a fire, create nifty devices or contraptions to help you in your survival experience, or simply explore the island.

In addition to your overall health bar, you have three main "stat" bars that need to be maintained: thirst, hunger, and strength. As you go without water and food, your thirst and hunger bar decrease, respectively. As you generally move around, endeavor in strenuous and difficult tasks, or stay out too long in the heat, your strength bar will diminish as well. These three basic needs can be maintained by doing simple tasks like preparing and consuming food, drinking fresh water, and resting in a safe location. If any of these stats reach zero, it adversely affects your health, and if your health bar reaches zero, that's the end of the line for your castaway.

As if taking care of yourself weren't difficult enough, you must also care for your fellow maroon. Apparently he/she doesn't have the ability to fend for him or herself, so it is up to you to feed them, take them to a fresh water source and tell them to drink, and tell them to sleep when you do. Taking care of both you and your partner became very tedious, and I often found the game to be unenjoyable simply because once I would maintain my stats or finish exploring some of the island, I had to go right back and increase the stats of the other person.

As you explore later parts of the island, you discover materials to create better objects, such as a spear to hunt animals, bamboo to build a trap and basket, and logs to eventually build a raft. You are able to find spices to create tastier recipes, which do a better job of staving off your character's hunger.

Touchscreen-based mini-games let you perform actions such as digging through sand, cooking, chopping food, spearing a fish or animal and building a fire. Additions to this game dynamic in LiB2 introduce new abilities such as archery, diving, and carpentry. As before, the microphone also comes into play while building a fire; you rub the kindling together using the stylus, and then blow into the mic to keep the fire going.

Despite the nifty features and abilities available to the player while trying to survive, I often found Lost in Blue 2 to be difficult and tedious. The experience would be improved if you did not have to take care of your fellow castaway or if the statistics didn't decrease quite so rapidly. In the time it takes you to explore a bit of the island and get to where you were the last time, you have to double back due to thirst and fatigue. The overall time put into LiB2 often seems wasted because during some play sessions, you don't make any real progress, hindered by the continuous strain of keeping up the stats of both characters.

Score: 6.0/10

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