Lost In Blue (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 20.10.2005 2

Lost In Blue was one of the early titles announced for the DS that grabbed peoples' interest, and soon it will finally arrive to begin the opening of the DS' RPG floodgates. Is it going to be an ambassador for the genre, or will it get lost in the pack?

If you're familiar with Konami's Game Boy classic Survival Kids, this game will probably not need much introduction. If you were a fan of the original you're likely to have been following the game since its announcement and letting out copious amounts of saliva; if you were not, you'll probably run away screaming after reliving the mental anguish that the original caused you upon reading this summary. You take control of a young boy who becomes shipwrecked on a remote island, along with a female friend - your task is, quite simply, to survive. If you’ve not huddled into a ball of frustration at remembering the difficult (but brilliant) original, we shall continue...

‘Harvest Moon on an island’ is a common way of describing Lost In Blue and its predecessor. While this comparison holds water to some extent, it begins to sink with a little further inspection. In Harvest Moon, you look after a farm and build up social relationships with the villagers around you. In this game, while you still have to build and maintain a strong bond with your companion, you’re looking after two human beings who will be doing quite a bit of dying if you don’t pick those vegetables that you might decide to procrastinate about in the former game. It could perhaps be described as Harvest Moon’s evil twin - in both, you repeat the same tasks throughout to keep surviving, but on a farm there are not quite as many ways to kill yourself, unless you have a particularly strange habit of trying to survive in the wilderness alone on the raw produce of the earth for days at a time. In one of your own fields. Next to a rampaging bull.

To avoid unnecessary termination of your life, you have statistics that must be watched at all times. Helpfully, they’re constantly displayed on the top screen, the characters with you at the time having an outline of their bodies showing how thirsty, hungry and tired they are, with an HP metre ultimately deciding whether you stay alive or not. This works in a tiered system, wherein if any of your stats reach zero problems begin to arise. Get hungry and you lose strength and cannot sleep to regain your stamina, lose stamina and your movement is impaired, have your water or stamina percentages low and HP begins to drop until it’s game over. Since you have these values to keep up, it’s strictly survival first, exploration and rescue later.

Screenshot for Lost In Blue on Nintendo DS

Somewhat obviously then, you have to make sure that these stats stay in the higher regions so that you can keep healthy enough to go-a-searching around your mysterious new surroundings. Initially you have to eat foodstuffs that can be found in the earth or in trees, sleep on the floor and drink straight from the river, but as you find more objects it is possible to survive more easily – one example would be finding or making a jug-like object to hold the precious liquid of life. To aid with gaining nutrition and rest, you can create weaponry and furniture, such as a bed (nice woodwork degree you conveniently picked up, there…). The touch screen is used to build together this equipment in a mini-game, which involves you making a series of motions. Failure results in the destruction of the materials being used; success gives you a new piece of furniture to adorn your cave.

Control is primarily with the d-pad and face buttons for movement and performing actions (like talking) respectively, while the touch screen has numerous uses too, such as to carry out more physically involving deeds like digging in the sand for items. The necessity to switch between buttons and screen may or may not get very irritating after time, but that remains to be seen. The microphone doesn’t go entirely unnoticed either, with a potentially finger-tiring fire starting task involving rapidly pressing the shoulder buttons to spin a stick in a bundle of other sticks while you blow onto it. Another of the DS’ features is used too at some points, the clamshell design. To cook, you can flip the top of the DS down, as though you are putting the lid on a pan.

Mentioned earlier was your fellow human on the island, a girl who has trouble getting about on her own due to her lack of good eyesight (how unusual - a girl relying on a guy in a video game...). While this immediately means you’re going to have to keep an eye on her and not just skip off for three days at a time without letting her know, she does have her uses. By taking items you bring her, she can create objects that couldn’t possibly be made by the male of the species, such as, for instance, woven baskets. She can also cook for you, so there’s no excuse for getting food poisoning from eating that little Bambi that you 'found' raw. She also takes no responsibility for you dying from her food because you brought her the wrong, toxic mushrooms. It is possible to take her out of the cave and on adventures with you, but she has to be holding onto your hand most of the time or she’ll get lost pretty easily, and then you’ve got no chance of getting out of there...

Screenshot for Lost In Blue on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

While some will find the ideas of this game exciting, it's certain that others will not, especially due to the slow-looking pace, but we think that it is shaping up to be a great game. Certainly nothing to do with the TV series Lost, perhaps it will be an adventure best experienced with a lot of solitude, searching and survival rather than being about a strange island full of stranger people.

Also known as

Survival Kids DS

Developer

Konami

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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