Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked Review for the Nintendo Wii

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked Review for the Nintendo Wii

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 screenshot

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 it’s up to him and his monkey Hobo to figure out how to survive. It’s the basic Lost in Blue formula for plot, but this time around I’ve found there are some pretty disappointing issues with the story.

Lost in Blue as a series does not revolve around plot, but I’ve always found the storytelling mechanisms quite interesting; it’s really player-driven and it’s like you’re playing through the story of your own island adventure. The characters have always seemed real enough, with Shipwrecked, however, that’s 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 bottle’s 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 snail’s pace, and every once in a while Aidan will shout out one of his lines; it’s out of sync and sloppy.

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked screenshot

As far as the actual exploration goes, Shipwrecked does a fairly good job of translating the DS experience over to the Wii. You’re left alone with a massive island, free to explore. The game operates on a time system, so during the day, you’ll 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.

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked screenshot

By far the biggest gripe with the Lost in Blue series is the difficulty of keeping your characters alive, and that’s not a problem that’s 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. There’s no way a teenager should be eating this much; you’ve 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 isn’t 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 you’re constantly foraging for food that, on its own, won’t satiate your constantly hungry teens, you’re drawn away from the real fun of the game: exploration. Babysitting your characters isn’t fun, but it’s made even worse when you realize you’re missing out on something great because of it.

In Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked, there’s a heavier emphasis on mini-games than in past installments of the series. Such actions as checking out your surroundings, cooking, and making tools have always been mini-game-esque, but in Shipwrecked they feel more so than ever, right down to a time meter and a score. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because these mini-games are actually one of the high points of the title. Most of them are well-done and interesting, plus it can be a good way of collecting food and supplies much more easily. For example, in the vine-pulling sequence, you could get six or seven vines from a single tree rather than just one.

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked screenshot

In fact, one of the reasons these mini-games generally work well is because of the excellent Wii Remote control implemented during them. Running around is done with the simple Remote-and-Nunchuk configuration, but when it comes to interacting with the environment, I was pleasantly surprised by how the Remote was used. Shaking both Remote and Nunchuk simultaneously to shake a tree or waving the Remote around to wipe sand away and find oysters was simple but satisfying and not overdone. There were some minor camera issues while exploring, but it was seldom a big deal.

For me, one of the biggest disappointments with Shipwrecked is the visuals. I disapprove of the anime-style approach the developers have taken, starting with Lost in Blue 3. I much preferred the more realistic character models; to me, the game works better as a serious survival drama than a Saturday-morning cartoon. Additionally, the visuals themselves are really poor. Environments look very similar; you’ll see lots of the same trees, sand, and rock walls. Characters look bad, and sometimes the game looks so pixelated that it’s hard to believe that it’s on the Wii.

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked did some things okay, but it leaves me wanting more. I’m motivated to go back and enjoy Lost in Blue 1 or 2, my favorite games in the series, rather than try and have fun with Shipwrecked. Exploration is as good as ever, and the Wii Remote mini-games, from cooking to building to foraging for food, are solid. But the problem with the health gauges really detracts from the experience, and it’s getting more and more difficult to overlook that problem as we see it in game after game. As much as it pains me to say it, I think it might be time for this series to get lost.

Shipwrecked looks terrible at times; environments are too similar and too pixelated, and character models look no better. 3.8 Control
There are some camera issues throughout, but during the title’s many mini-games the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are put to good use. 2.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Terrible, sporadic voice acting and repetitive music make this game a bore to listen to. 3.2

Play Value
Exploration is great, but often you’ll be spending too much time keeping your characters alive to really experience that fun.

2.6 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The first console version of the series immerses the player in a survival adventure like never before.
  • Full use of Wii-mote and Nunchuk controls allow you to experience realistic movements with a variety of mini-games including fishing, carpentry, fire-making, and more.
  • Dependable pets improve item gathering and provide entertainment by playing music or dancing with you .
  • Recruit a friend for over 40 mini-games, including new, cooperative games – the better you play, the bigger your reward.

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