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External Review: Lost in Blue Shipwrecked

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Introduction

Released in 2008, Konami’s latest entry into the series was forgotten and skipped by many who played the three Nintendo DS titles. The games where riddled with problems over the series original Game Boy Color entries under the name Survival Kids, but improvements did slowly appear as Konami put their minds back into the series. The simple survival based series was going to get another rebirth, this time on the Wii- will it be for the worst? Or the best?

Gameplay

Fans of the series will be used to the gameplay in Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked, as well as newcomers to the series since the Nintendo DS days will find the features Konami had added in the Nintendo DS titles still intact in the Wii version. It features the same range of mini games which broke up the survival gameplay as well as the same basic 3D world which Lost in Blue introduced to the series.

Like all of the entries into the series (bar Survival Kids 2) the game starts when a disaster inflicts a sea cruiser to certain doom. The main character is Aidan Sanders, who is a 16 year old Male that is the son of the Companies president which is having some sort of shindig on the boat. Of course you meet all the characters which you will eventually see when the boat crashes (in directly of course) and when the disaster rolls around you are ready to go and play in your new island.

Unlike the previous titles in the series, Shipwrecked introduces a new feature which in some ways is quite innovative, as soon as your character is flung onto an island you will notice something quite interesting after a few seconds. You’re on a training island- meaning you are going to have to learn how to control your character and explore the tiniest island in the world until you can craft a boat and set sail for the next island. The game is like all other games in the series when it comes down to the bare basics, you have your simple mission of picking up objects which could aid in your survival and the goal to explore the island until you can escape.

There are mini games like Nintendo DS entries which involve the player performing various activities to achieve a certain goal. Whether it is fishing, digging up berried objects or making an object like the past games there is a direction which forces you into these wacky mini games.

Just like the Nintendo DS entries, Shipwrecked has a few friends for you to talk and chat to which you find after a few days surviving on the island. The problem lies here is that the companions you gather are quite atrocious and really don’t do anything to help lead you to achieving the games goal. Konami seems to have also forgotten that while they didn’t achieve NPC perfection in Lost in Blue 3, it seemed to be the most desirable out of the games which include extra characters. Which is kind of depressing because that isn’t something to write home about, also Konami has introduced a few more issues to the NPC issue, including whenever something bad happens to you a big bubble will appear with a horrible voice over going “Are you Ok? You should do X” which is quite annoying.

If you can put aside these smaller issues which have crept through the game, the island and other gameplay mechanics seemed to have improved, or least stayed static since Lost in Blue 3- making the game one of the better in the series.

Controls

For a Wii game it’s going to defiantly have “waggle”, which is alright especially considering these effects have only been added in the mini games. The shame and disappointment here comes from the fact that most of the movements are quite basic and pointless when trying to achieve something and only add more time to perform a task.

When it comes to controlling the character and checking menus it seems somehow developers have all subconsciously agreed on a style which works. The game requires the nun chuck to move your characters, “A” pretty much performs all actions and depending on what you’re doing you might have on “C” or “B” extra options. Menus are accessed by the + and – buttons which is pretty good, there are also a few other things such as zooming with “Z”.

Graphics

From jumping from the Nintendo DS games to the Wii Lost in Blue seemed to have kept the style the Nintendo DS entries had when it exploded onto the big screen. This isn’t exactly a bad thing as the style looks great on the Nintendo Wii, and sharpness wise it really isn’t as bad as most people would let you believe. But the game feels like it was from an older decade with this coat of paint regardless, and in some areas many objects just don’t seem as sharp making the graphics less desirable.

Sound

The characters now have their own audio voices, and that is one sound which you don’t want to hear all the time, but instead have to. Each character has a distinct piercing voice which seems to be annoying to hear when playing. A choice which shouldn’t have been included.

Otherwise the sounds are pretty similar to those in the Nintendo DS games, simple noises when you select items, pick up objects etc. Animals make noises as well, but some of them are just like character voices, meaning you don’t want to hear them.

Music is soft and only in select areas or times of day or other difficult to achieve positions, you see for the most time a player would be in-counting simple nature sounds which give the game a nice feel, but it would be better if there was more music in the title.

Final comments

The skin of the game seems to be riddled with issues which Konami if they were smart should have excluded or fine-tuned lots of the issues with the title. But under the skin of the title there’s the game has improved heaps since the miserable Nintendo DS titles and is starting to mature to do the original titles on the Game Boy Color proud. There’s lots more things to be sharpened up over all, but looking at the game it seems to be a more complete package then past entries.

Pro: Graphics have improved since we last saw the game, interesting new land, same simple survival method which keeps the game strong
Con: Weaker mini games, Weaker NPC design
Final score: 8.9

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