Friday, 1 July 2016

Lost Sea (Xbox One) - Review

Lost Sea is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £11.99.

Lost Sea sees you trying to escape the Bermuda Triangle after you crashed onto an island there. To do this you have to do a fair bit of island hopping, collecting tablets along the way that will allow you to move to another island depending on the number written on the tile. It is very simplistic, which is fine because it is done incredibly well, but before I get into it I wanted to point this out...I was expecting a pretty different game going by the description in the Xbox One store. Yeah it is an action-adventure game, I guess, but I would actually categorise as more of a rogue-lite game. Or a hack and slash. Hell, I'd have called it a board game before I called it an action-adventure, but maybe I'm being pedantic. It's just that the description painted a picture for me. A picture rich in detail and tactical choices. The reality is that Lost Sea is a fairly shallow experience, but it is a fun one. The artsyle is really nice and cutesy. The music is sublime. The only downfall is that the experience is just a little less deep than I had hoped for.

That's not to say there isn't anything positive about this game, because there are lots of positives for a casual gamer. Recruiting a crew member is really easy to do and means that you have a lackey to carry a tablet back to the ship for you. Some of them can unlock chests for you, others can build bridges and some of them will even revive you if you die (but only once). You can only have one crew member to begin with and have to earn the right to have more followers by buying it from the dock. The worst thing about crew members is that they will not fight for you, in fact they cower whenever an enemy comes close unless you buy another perk that means they'll just stand idly by instead. Any you "save" can be recruited at the cost of sending your current crew to the dock, where you'd think they'd just hop on the shop with you when you leave for the next island. Nope. You just leave them to their uncertain fate and carry on your merry way. Not. Cool.

The game is really easy to pick up and understand. You basically only pick stuff up, hit stuff and move on. The aim is to escape in one fell swoop, you cannot save your progress on this game. I like this mechanic but I know there are a lot who would hate it. I just find that Lost Sea is best when played in short, concentrated bursts. It's procedurally-generated which means that no two play-throughs will be exactly the same (obviously there's a limit on just how different they can be) and it is only a short game. If the tablets are good to you, you can get to the final island fairly quickly. And the best thing about this mechanic? When you die the tablets you had are converted into experience and coins for your next play-through so you can afford some upgrades straight away.

Lost Sea is by no means perfect. I mean, I wish you could change the camera angle for one - you can rotate the camera around your character but I wish you could lower it a little too. And I reallllllly wish it wasn't such a shallow experience. It does feel a little mobile-game-esque and whilst it isn't as bad as some other games of that ilk that have made the jump to consoles it still does feel like you may as well be playing it on your phone. I had fun with it though, and keep finding myself turning it on for "one more go" so it can't be all that bad, right?

7/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

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