Lost Sea (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 26.08.2016

Review for Lost Sea on PlayStation 4

As a swashbuckling pirate adventure crossed with the movie Groundhog Day, Lost Sea takes a very non-traditional approach to video games. After getting washed ashore on a mysterious island, a hero must recruit a ragtag group of survivors to help traverse the perilous islands in an attempt to escape the Bermuda Triangle. Escaping will require the collection of special tablets found on the various islands, which are procedurally generated - as such, EastAsiaSoft's lost island adventure ensures that every playthrough feels different each time.

Collecting the magical tablets in this top-down arcade game is not as easy as it seems, with a manner of different creatures lurking about. There are many different enemy types, and they each have their own unique attack pattern; however, none are not too difficult.

After selecting a crew member from the list of the options, the adventure then begins with a brief tutorial of Lost Sea's two-button system: the Square button attacks with a machete, while X is the interactions button; the character neither jumps nor has any other basic attacks, making for a very simplistic game. When a tablet is found, it has to then be carried back to the base ship - it's a dull task, requiring a large amount of constant backtracking in order to proceed further into the quest.

When a crew member is found, they can be recruited, but they're as unhelpful as an NPC gets: apart from joining the crew with a plethora of abilities, both active and passive, the only thing that each crew member is good for is simply holding the tablets and carrying them back to the base. At first, only one crew member can join and, as upgrades are purchased down the line, up to three more spots can be added. However, the crew members are not permanent: they can be dismissed if a better recruit comes along, or are dead for good, should they lose all their health in the midst of a battle.

Screenshot for Lost Sea on PlayStation 4

In addition to the coins found in the various barrels and boxes throughout each stage, enemies also drop experience points, which can be used to purchase upgrades such as new attacks or the ability to roll or sprint. While these upgrades do actually feel like a form of progression for the controlled character, it all gets thrown out the window after a death.

Where most video games implement a checkpoint or a save feature of sorts, Lost Sea goes against the grain: upon dying or quitting, the game resets and the adventure must be played through again with the bare minimum of upgrades and almost all progress lost. The only thing that seems to carry over is a record of worlds that have been reached, which can then be skipped head to with a handy warp feature. However, even that doesn't make up for the hours of lost progression and upgrades that were purchased. This constraint means that to get the most out of this game, it must be played in one sitting and with only one life, and that is simply too much of a stretch for an arcade-style game that seems to fare better played in short bursts. Simply put, for those who are time-poor, Lost Sea is just not an option.

The game is also littered with minor graphical glitches, such as the player being able to walk through rock faces and sign posts, which truly breaks immersion. Also, when there are NPCs following behind, they are prone to getting stuck on stairs or ledges - or will simply stop following if they cannot keep up. In order to avoid such pitfalls, it requires that the AI be babysat throughout the whole experience. With Lost Sea being as frustrating a game as it is, the poor AI just makes the ordeal a lot worse.

Screenshot for Lost Sea on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Lost Sea had an interesting premise from the get go, with its use of procedurally generated stages and the quest of finding the tablets in order to escape the Bermuda Triangle. However, the randomly generated stages seem there only due to constant necessity to replay levels because of the inability to save the progress. While this may have been aimed at increasing the replay value of the game, after a few hours of play, it still feels like little to no progress had been made. This is a cause for many infuriating moments and seriously detracts from an otherwise clean and simple game with a lot of potential.

Developer

EastAsiaSoft

Publisher

EastAsiaSoft

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 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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