While some inventory and travel issues make eking out a living a shade more tedious than it really needs to be, at its best the game is an addicting exercise in the power of human perseverance.
- Island is fun to explore
- Plenty of items to collect to help ensure your survival
- Real sense of fighting against the elements.
- Constant micromanagement required
- Limited inventory space enforces timesinks
- Travel has a tendency to get tedious.
It's not just reality TV show stars who're getting thrown into the wild without the benefit of modern amenities. Lost in Blue is an adventure based around survival, where you fight the unassuming and insidious enemies of hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and time. While some inventory and travel issues make eking out a living a shade more tedious than it really needs to be, at its best the game is an addicting exercise in the power of human perseverance.
You'll play as Keith, a senior in high school who's relishing his first solo trip of summer vacation right up until the point where the oceangoing ship he's on capsizes. He comes to on a deserted island and his only company is Skye, a young woman who's pretty blind after the tragic loss of her glasses. It's up to you to find a way to explore the island and eventually engineer your escape, while also keeping yourself alive. You'll need to collect food and water, build tools, and stockpile supplies of all kinds if you want to leave something for the rescue crews besides a pair of sun-bleached skeletons. In fact, with all the harvesting, hunting, digging, and organization you'll be doing, the experience ends up being much like a Harvest Moon game--a Harvest Moon game where you'll die horribly if you don't get out to pick the vegetables.
Just about everything you need on the island can be found lying around somewhere or other, and it's just a matter of roaming around to gather things up. Most items can simply be picked up, while in the case of certain foods, like clams or plants, you'll need to bend over and use the stylus to dig them out of the sand or the earth. There are even a few cases where you can "persuade" trees to drop you supplies by shaking them and hoping fruit or firewood falls out of them. A great deal of your time in the game is spent just gathering food, firewood, and other supplies, and then bringing them back to your humble cave abode where Skye can cook you a meal or weave you baskets and rope. Skye generally stays at home all of the time (without her glasses, she can't see where she's going and gets lost), though you can hold her hand and take her outside when you need to. However, getting her anywhere is a pretty big pain, as you have to manually haul her over ledges and logs, and she can't climb certain areas that Keith can.
You can chat with Skye while visiting the cave, and she often has a number of helpful hints about life on the island. Talking to her also triggers Keith's ability to build various kinds of furniture, as she suggests needed items for their crude home. While wandering the grasslands and jungles, you can find a couple of different items for Skye to serve food on, which will improve her cooking so meals will be more satisfying than they would be otherwise. Depending on the foods you give her to cook, she'll make a variety of different things with bizarre names, like freaky clam bake or mystery carrot salad, though she can also produce things with more pedestrian names, like baked potato.
Tools and items are also big necessities, from the crude fire-starter you craft at the very beginning to the furniture you can build to make cave-living a bit easier. You make tools by combining simple items you can find, like sharpening a rock into a stone point and then fastening it to a stick for a spear. Weapons like spears (and bows and traps) let you hunt some of the indigenous wildlife, and the fish, birds, and mammals are much more filling than the fruit and vegetables you find. Using a bow or spear brings up a close-up screen where you can aim and strike using the stylus, though the control here is a bit imprecise. Building furniture utilizes a minigame where you need to trace stylus gestures on the touch screen at certain times to accomplish a successful build. The thing is that these motions don't have much to do with the actual mechanics of building, so it ends up feeling like a gameplay gimmick to use the touch screen more than it immerses you in the joy of woodworking.