July 14, 2016

Lost Sea - Review

Lost Sea is a new game created by EastAsiaSoft, the core game play involves exploring new areas, solving puzzles and hacking and slashing various enemies which is pretty standard fare for a roguelike style of game. The premise of the game which is explained in the tutorial is that you are a castaway that has escaped the deadly Bermuda Triangle and washed up on an island and in order to escape you must travel from island to collect magical tablets in order to open a portal to get you safely back home, there are no real twists and turns to the story so if you are expecting a game with a deep and engaging storyline then you have come to the wrong place.

The graphics in the game lie on the cartoony side of things and tend to be very bright, vivid and colourful though due to all of the islands being procedurally generated everything starts to look the same after a while. The soundtrack for the most part matches the graphics and tends to be bright and upbeat. The gameplay is pretty solid yet relatively simple and involves you visiting different islands, solving puzzles, collecting items and slashing your way through various colourful and well animated enemies. You also find buddies along the way that will help you build bridges or open chests thus helping your progress further through the particular island and move on to the next one.

This is where the game tends to fall flat on its face, the majority of the story is dumped on you in the first part of the tutorial so I found there wasn't much that made me want to progress further in the game, sure there are 5 different regions to visit from deserts to swamps and they are all rendered rather beautifully but in each of these regions you will be doing what essentially amounts to the same thing. The game is based on exploration but it is hard to become excited about exploring when the maps all start to look the same after a while and once you start to realise that various chests scattered around the map only contain either health packs or bombs or the odd collectable which really have no impact on the gameplay then it gives you even less of a reason to explore and more of a reason to simply get through the level as quickly as possible and move on to the next one.

As you smash your way through enemies you earn XP that can be used to upgrade your character, some of these upgrades are useful but the vast majority of them are useless and don't really effect gameplay that much at all, it really feels like you are being funnelled into taking the upgrades that the developers want you to take rather than being free to build the type of character you want as in other games from the same genre, ships can also be upgraded using the coins you collect. Some variety in the gameplay instead of just varying areas and maps would of been a welcome addition, I must say though that EastAsiaSoft has done a great job with with the variety of enemies in the game as each of these require different tactics and strategies to beat.

The game mechanics are very basic but they are well put together, the fighting is fun but tends to not be that challenging as most of it revolves around simply pressing one button to swing your machete, some of the puzzles will have you scratching your head but wont frustrate you to the point where you want to smash your face repeatedly against the wall. Lost Sea is a solidly put together little title especially in the graphic and sound departments but it just doesn't develop enough of a punch or deliver enough variety to make me want to keep playing, pardon the pun but the game really will get "lost in the sea" of roguelike games that do the genre a lot more justice than this does.

Thanks to EastAsiaSoft for supplying the game for review

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