The original Lost in Blue was a tedious but interesting look at life on a deserted island. It was also better as a stand-alone game, which is apparent in its sequel, Lost in Blue 2. It features several new activities like diving and archery, but it's also heavier on the monotony. The whole "survival of the fittest" idea is great for a game, but the two castaways you must rescue are hardly self-reliant, and the resulting micromanagement negates a lot of the enjoyment.
Skye and Keith are gone, replaced instead by Jack and Amy, though the stories of both games are similar. This time around, you can choose which character to play, and the dialogue will change throughout the game depending on your choice. The two high school students are the victims of a nasty shipwreck and wake up to find themselves on a desolate island. Your goal is to escape, but keeping you and your companion alive is your main purpose, and accomplishing it is a lot harder than you might think. While you explore the island using either the D-pad or touchscreen to move, you need to forage for food, water, and resources, all while avoiding a visit from the grim reaper.
http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2007/031/935188_20070201_embed008.jpgYou'll visit this river about a zillion times, thanks to your ravenous thirst.
Once Amy and Jack are settled in their local grotto, you'll notice that they may be the coldest, hungriest, and thirstiest characters to ever appear in a game. Your first activities involve scouring the island for various types of food and finding a watering hole. You can either leave your companion behind while you forage, or you can hold hands and travel together. Either way, you'll be collecting a lot of foodstuffs like clams, carrots, and the most enormous raspberries grown on earth. You can eat a lot of it raw, but it's better to head back to home sweet cave, where you can slice it up, grill it, boil it, and more. Meals can actually get a bit complex, since you can serve up to four dishes, with four ingredients and two spices each. To create them, you use the stylus to simulate chopping or turning items on the grill, and how well you perform the minigame directly affects the quality of the meal--and in turn, how much of your hunger it appeases.
As you slowly explore all the nooks and crannies, other minigames and creature comforts get added to your repertoire. You'll spear fish, create furniture, set traps for animals, fight crocodiles, and milk a goat. These little games are the highlight of the experience, and there are several more here than in the original. They are also varied and amusing to play, particularly because they're directly tied to your survival and escape. It's mild fun to juggle milking a goat while patting its head with the stylus, or to build a fire by blowing into the microphone; and when your life depends on it, the comforts you earn are all the more rewarding.
The glaring issue with all of this is that staying alive just isn't that much fun on its own. You'll want to explore the island and engineer your escape, but Jack and Amy require constant, detailed attention. You need to keep an eye on their hunger, thirst, and energy levels, as well as their total health points, which start to diminish when one of the other stats fall to zero. Your companion will forage or cook for the two of you, but you have to issue the command to her, lest she simply fall down and die before you can provide a meal yourself. These kids must eat large meals multiple times a day, and they need constant rest. Scouring the same beach for abalone and shaking the same trees for coconuts over and over again just isn't fun. You'll want to explore, but you can't, because you're chained to a brain-dead companion and your own literally unquenchable thirst.
Lost in Blue 2 takes place on a different island than its predecessor, but it looks mostly the same. The menu screens, the items, and minigame animations are all lifted right from the first Lost in Blue. Even Jack and Amy look an awful lot like Skye and Keith, and it's disappointing that everything is so similar. It looks decent, though, and the island has some occasionally nice scenery. Overall, the environments look pretty simple, but they're clean and it's easy to find items on the ground or in the sand. It sounds pretty much the same as before, too, and features a number of low-quality but well-composed digitized tunes and some synthesized voice quips.
http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2007/031/935188_20070201_embed004.jpgYour initial diet consists of coconuts and seaweed, but you won't remain a vegetarian for long.
There's an unlockable mode in which you can survive as a single castaway and ditch the companion, and you can also play a few minigames with a buddy via the download play option. If Lost in Blue 2 is your thing, there are a good dozen hours or more to squeeze out of it. But so much of that content is just revisiting the same basic activities out of necessity, and the new minigames can't gloss over how frustratingly dull and mundane everything is in between them. Some formulas just aren't meant to be repeated, and this competent but bland sequel is a perfect example.