Lost Sea Review
I'm a pretty big fan of old-school action titles that you can pick up and play and beat them in a few hours so long as they keep me coming back to them. Lost Sea is a 3D survival action game developed by EastAsiaSoft and it has basically filled that void of the type of pick up and play title that I look for. The game starts off with your character getting stuck inside the Bermuda Triangle. Before long you find the signature weapon of the game, the machete, and come upon a survivor that gives you a tutorial of the game. The entire first stage is a tutorial or you can skip past it and get to the other stages.
The game has five archipelagos to explore that are split up into several islands that each lead to a boss fight. You take control of one of eight characters and must go through each stage and find stone tablets and survivors. The characters to choose from may have bigger differences, but all that I noticed was a difference in speed. Stone tablets are required to move on to other islands. Each stone tablet allows you to sail a certain number of islands through the archipelago and then you have to find more to move on to other islands. Along the way of collecting tablets, you'll be finding other survivors. You can choose to have survivors tag along with your main character in order to provide assistance with hauling the tablets back to the dock area or you might need assistance from one of their many skills such as opening locked chests or repairing bridges among other types of skills.
Survivors can also grant you attribute bonuses to your attack power or give you extra experience per enemy defeated among other types of bonuses. Some of the survivors can bring your main character back to life one time with a revival skill. You'll be collecting coins and experience through defeated enemies to help buy upgrades for your boat and extra skills and power-ups for your main character. Throughout each island, you'll be facing off against enemies that will change as you progress through each archipelago. The first archipelago is rather easy, but the islands after the first group get much harder and lead to me having to make full use of my survivors and other power-ups, which is really a good feeling with all the games that lack challenge that I am finding lately.
Gameplay is presented with a 3D isometric view of your character and you're free to use the right analog to move the camera. The overall graphical look to the game is presented quite well. The characters all have unique designs and everything is full of color. The environments look good, but I do feel they repeat a lot. Every island randomizes, so you'll never truly play the same island each time through the game, but so many of the islands have the same repeated obstacles such as two long staircases next to each other, familiar archways or familiar bridges much like in an area that you found on a previous island. The archipelagos that you visit all have their own unique type of environment, such as a desert or frozen island, but you'll find the same type of obstacle areas repeated on many of them, although randomly. The random islands are a good idea, but they repeat too many obstacles at times. The soundtrack to the game is quite fitting. All the tracks feel like music you would hear in a tropical environment.
Lost Sea has a very limited save feature. Upon dying and restarting, you get a certain amount of coins and experience based on the tablets you collected during your last play-through. There is also a stage select where you can choose between which archipelago to start at based on the areas you have reached in a previous play-through. There are no in-progress save files, which is both good and bad. It's good because it's like an old-school action title where you actually have to worry about dying and losing much of what you have. I do feel the game should have a one-time save where you could stop playing and then pick up progress later from a file that would be deleted once you start however. It's annoying how I have to sit down for a 3-5 hour play-through if I want to keep my full progress.
The survivors are crucial to helping you survive on each island later in the game, but they often stand in harm's way once an enemy starts to attack and there is no way to direct them to a safe spot or leave them behind in an area while you go forth and fight enemies. It's very frustrating to go into a battle and watch your survivors stop and cower in fear and remain in a spot where an enemy is about to attack. There is a skill to buy that will make the survivors invincible to attacks while they cower, but it costs quite a bit and won't be affordable for a while.
Lost Sea is the type of game that is most rewarding to players that want to sit through a FULL play-through of the game in each sitting (around 3-5 hours). If you play through one archipelago then die and want to restart on the same archipelago where you died, it's a bit hard to build your character back up to where you can withstand some of the later stages. Having survivors that stand right in front of enemy attacks only fuels that type of frustration as well, especially with how the later enemies like to jump all over your character and quickly trample survivors. It seems the developers really intended for players to start from the beginning each time through since by doing so you'll gain access to tons of experience and coins to build up your character for later stages. The game was a lot of fun to me despite my nitpicks here and there, and I do recommend it to players that enjoy a good "pick up and play" type of game. It certainly has challenge and has some really hardcore trophies to unlock that can lead to much replay value.
+ Good overall difficulty for a survival game
+ Graphical art style looks great
+ Really fitting soundtrack
- Islands need more variety in appearance
- Needs some type of save option for runs for when you want to take a break
- No way to control survivors to get them out of harm's way
Final Rating: 72% - Lost Sea is an overall fun survival game, but it has too many flaws that keep it from being as good as it could be.