Lost Sea review (PC)

LostSea_Artwork2 700

The fun begins in Lost Sea with the choice of the character that you want to take on a journey into the Bermuda Triangle. There is a selection of 8 different characters but the choice is merely a cosmetic one as none of the characters have any abilities that affect the gameplay in any way.  The characters all look very different to each other and they all span different eras in time. This seems to compliment the theme of the Bermuda Triangle that runs throughout the game as you progress.

The initial levels of the game are entertaining enough and are very simple to grasp.  The simplicity of the attacks and the enemy attack patterns are easy to learn and mean you finish the levels without much of a problem at all.  The idea is for you to survive, build up experience by killing enemies, upgrade your player abilities and upgrade your ship abilities. The frustrating thing about the ship abilities was that there wasn’t a playable section where you were in control of the ship it is more of a mechanic to move between the different islands along the way.  To move between the islands the player is expected to collect tablets which determine how many islands the ship will be able to travel to.  Each island also has a rank between easy and hard to allow the player to choose how difficult they want the tablet recovery to be.

This is where another aspect of the game comes into play; you can rescue and recruit various crew members as you find them on the island. The crew members all have different strengths and traits which can help the player to access new areas of the island by building bridges or digging up hidden treasures at various spots on the map. There is not much else to these companions however and they feel like they are an underused asset that could have added much more to the gameplay.  The AI of these crew members is not particularly great and more often than not they will wander in front of one of your attacks as you swipe to kill an enemy or clear a bush from your path.  This gets frustrating at times and more often than not left me wanting to kill them just to have them out of my way.

LostSea_02

The game is very colourful and the art style is one that tells you that you will have fun from the outset and to be fair I did enjoy playing this title.  The procedurally generated islands meant that each time there was a different place to explore and the quirkiness of the characters meant that there was a fun cartoony feel throughout the title. Sadly though the repetitive game play and the limited ways in which enemies attacked meant that playing this for long periods of time just was not possible.  I managed a maximum of around 1 hour each time I played.  This was down to the mechanic that I felt let the game down the most which was the rogue-like, permadeath part of the game.

The steady progression by slowly gaining new abilities, new ship attributes and better crew members are all immediately wiped out upon death of your character. If these skills actually made a huge difference to the game play or made a big difference to the player abilities this may have been more of a plus side but sadly the death effect was more a factor of ‘Oh, so I have to go through all of that again.’  If the player managed to make it to the next set of islands they could warp to those when they next play but again you lose all of the upgrades that you previously had. I think this mechanic is what let the game down for me.  It would have been more appealing to more players to have the chance to save their game or continue after death rather than try to stick to the rogue-like permadeath option.

LostSea_09

The final frustration with this title was the lack of descriptions for the items that you come across when you find them.  The power up items found in chests had no indication of how they should be used or what the effects would be which meant you had to use them to find out what it did. Even a simple quick couple of lines to say what the item did would have been better than leaving the player to guess what to do with them.

I really loved the idea behind the game and the graphics and cartoon like nature of it is a refreshing change to the usual theme of procedurally generated rogue-like games and it is so frustrating that the gameplay just couldn’t quite live up to its looks.  Overall this title is something that will provide some fun for an hour or two but the repetitive gameplay and similarity of the enemy attacks will not be enough to keep you wanting to play for longer.

 

Score 6.5/10

Pros:

Bright Cartoon style

Procedurally generated levels

Easy upgrade interface for player and ships

Cons:

Items have no descriptions for use

Gameplay becomes repetitive quickly

Good for short play sessions but penalises this with permadeath