Tropical Lost Island (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 11.11.2010

Review for Tropical Lost Island on Nintendo DS

Hidden Object games have been big business in the PC world for many years, but only really came to the fore on DS after Nintendo brought Big Fish Games' Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir to the market, complete with a massive advertising push that helped sell the product to the Brain Training sector of the userbase. Now a cavalcade of game's in the genre have graced the dual-screen portable system, with Tropical Lost Island set to launch on DS this month in Europe. Cubed3 takes a look to see if it is one of the better examples.

The Hidden Object genre tends to live or die on three main points; the storyline, how clear the visuals are, and what types of extra modes have been included. Tropical Lost Island's yarn has the player joining a rescue team that is busy trying find a veteran adventurer by the name of Charlie Johnson, who went missing during a flight somewhere around the Hawaiian Islands. This sets the journey up perfectly for the player to visit various fantastical locations, aiming to catch up with Johnson who is reportedly wandering around an area belonging to Gods such as Pele, Kanaloa, Lono and Ku, upsetting locals that wish to keep their cultural heritage private.

Everything is portrayed using basic, static imagery with no voice work and there is a definite budget feel to proceedings, but it does not particularly hinder the involvement of the player in any way on the overall story side of matters. Where the sub-par visuals do play a major role, though, is in the actual hidden object scenarios themselves. For those unaware of how these type of games work, the premise is that a large list of objects can found on the top screen, whilst the lower, touch-screen half of the DS houses a specific location setting that can be panned around using the stylus. Each item on the list is craftily merged into the background of the area and must be uncovered, with a keen eye and a tap of the stylus, before the timer runs out.

Screenshot for Tropical Lost Island on Nintendo DS

In Tropical Lost Island there are 31 varied levels on offer, with each level consisting of stages that in total hold more than 70 objects that must be dug out from the backdrop. Some may blame the small DS screen for making it awkward to find certain items, yet considering other titles in this genre have successfully circumvented that issue, the problem in Tropical Lost Island is that the graphical quality is simply not clear enough most of the time, meaning it is almost impossible to locate certain objects (something not helped by the strange names given to some items, leaving players baffled, wondering what exactly it is they are meant to be looking for!). Thankfully there are more than enough items that can be found by scouring every inch of the stages, whilst those oddball ones can be revealed using the hint system (that only becomes available every now-and-then, after a set amount of time has passed). Can you merely tap like crazy to find everything? Sure thing! However, a few mistimed taps in a row will result in a penalty, with the timer being knocked down slightly, so care should instead be taken.

Finally, there are eight different mini-games to help break up the adventure, and they do act as nice little asides from the main game. Think along the lines of ‘memory games’ and you will get an idea of what to expect, but do not expect anything so engaging that they surpass the main objetive of discovering hidden items. Overall, whilst Tropical Lost Island is by no means the sturdiest entry into the world of Hidden Object games, it certainly does fill a nice little hole for fans waiting for the ‘next big thing,’ keeping gamers of all levels entertained.

Screenshot for Tropical Lost Island on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Tropical Lost Island is not one of the worst entries into the Hidden Object genre, yet it fails to live up to the standards set by other similar games. It offers just about enough enjoyable gameplay to scrape by as a decent ‘filler’ product for fans eager to try more puzzle efforts between ‘big name’ releases.


MSL Benelux


Licensed 4U





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 TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   


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