Lost Sea is an arcade survival roguelike game, developed and published by Eastasiasoft, releasing on July 5th 2016 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Due to a plane crash in the Bermuda Triangle, your character finds themselves stranded on a tropical island so obviously your aim is to find a way off it. In order to do that, you must explore the island in search of food, other stranded people and build yourself a shit capable of getting out of there!
The gameplay in Lost Sea is played from top down view and has very basic hack and slash combat elements. Your character’s main attack is simply a swing of the sword, but you will come across other pieces of equipment too such as a shotgun of sorts. You will be fighting against pretty much what you would expect on a tropical island, wild animals, huge giants, dinosaurs, crazy island dwellers, and more. Due to the game’s very basic combat system, you find yourself having to dodge more and carefully time your attacks on foes as you will soon find out, death in permanent here. If you die, you start right at the beginning again; it oh so annoying but also part and parcel of roguelike games. I think the perma death feature wouldn’t be so bad if they allowed you to keep all of your well earned abilities and skills that you have gathered up to that point but alas we can't have it all.
On the subject of these skills and abilities, any enemies you kill will drop coins and experience points; back at your home base you can trade these in for new skills and abilities which will aid you on your exploration of the island. These can range from straight up health increases, or allowing you to have more people in your party of explorers. I personally really liked the skill and ability system in Lost Sea, but it let me down a tad when I found out they don’t carry over between runs - it almost makes them feel a little pointless at times.
Other part’s of Lost Sea’s gameplay really irk me a tad too; as you progress through the game, you will soon be heavily reliant on the rest of your team mates; these bring along their own unique traits to your party such as being able to dig up hidden treasure, or unlock locked away items in chests - so they become pretty key to your progression. Sadly they have a very poor AI programmed into them. When you get attacked by enemies they will just freeze where they stand and do nothing; common sense would make them run away and hide, but they just knuckle down and do nothing until the danger has passed, this came across as a very poor design to me. Another issue with the AI is that they are so prone to getting stuck behind objects and pieces of the world that you will spend a good portion of time backtracking in order to free them from that hidden wall they are constantly running into.
Lost Sea’s bright and colourful art style gives the game a playful look to it; one that I particularly enjoyed, the character models look well detailed and well animated with the enemies looking impressive too. The game’s environments are definitely well worth exploring if only for the graphical fidelity on them. I would have liked to see some voice acting throughout as the sound effects are a little on the low quality side but nothing overly bad at the end of the day.
This game is difficult, no question about it. It is almost as forgiving as Dark Souls when it comes down to instant deaths, as monsters will literally jump out of trees, charge at you and you’ll die. This happens more times than I can count on one hand and does leave you feeling a little deflated in terms of wanting to pick up the controller again and jumping straight into another run, because quite simply, you are starting the game all over again. Yes you do unlock a portal like system in order to teleport to where you died, but your character is so under leveled and poorly equipped that you would just end up dying even quicker than before.
This game has tons of content, and I found it hard to actually find someone who had managed to complete the game even now 10 days after it’s release. I am not sure it would have much replayability as the actual story and plot does not change from run to run, and to be honest I would be more than happy to get one complete run out of this title, because it is so tough in the first place.
Apart from the issues mentioned with the buggy AI of the other team members, Lost Sea is a pretty technically sound release. The game is definitely going to require you to pick up your controller over keyboard and mouse though. I feel Lost Sea would have really benefited from a multiplayer mode too; after all everything is better with friends, and this would of been no different. A co-op mode for this game would be absolutely awesome and one that I hope they can add in the future.
Overall Lost Sea is an OK release. There is nothing absolutely mind boggling good coming out of it, but it doesn’t do too much wrong either. The permadeath element definately needs changing to make the gameplay a little more forgiving and to cut down on the amount of rage quits this game induces on its players though. The game’s full price of £10.99 is well marked for a game of this quality and amount of content on offer.