Lost Sea is a onetime escape that’s great while it lasts.
Washed up on an island somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. Save other survivors and bring them back to base. Different survivors have different useful attributes. For example, the Carpenters can repair bridges allowing access to new areas. Or sometimes they’re Tough, which means they have more health than normal. The greatest strategy behind party members comes once the player can unlock multiple slots. Combine different survivors with different party booster attributes so everyone’s tougher or has the revive abilities. It’s the best way to survive for longer periods of time, and survival is paramount in Lost Sea.
Eight different playable characters: different skins, same stats. The cel-shade animation perfectly fits the attitude of the game. Lost Sea highlights the dangers of the island inhabitants and monsters while remaining light hearted in the face of danger. The over the shoulder play allows the player to rotate 360° to find lootables, survivors, and enemies. The jungle-themed music compliments the artwork and creates a memorable gaming experience. This is as bubbly as Lose Sea gets because the rest of it is a grueling grind.
The waters around the Bermuda Triangle are impossible to navigate without Tablets. Tablets are hidden on certain islands: the more tablets the player finds, the more islands they can reach. The island difficulty is represented by skulls. The danger level of each island is important to understand — and prioritize — because Lost Sea features a permadeath play style. Play as long and as far as you can without being able come back. Death erases all level and player progress. It’s infuriating, and it’s addicting, in a self-flagellating pursuit to prove you can escape the Bermuda Triangle.
Lost Sea is a hack-n-slash with a grind-based upgrade system. Push through each level’s baddies, save valuable first aid kits, and try to hold out for the special health trees to replenish lost life.
Lost Sea works off of coins and experience. Kill bad guys and earn experience points to spend on player upgrades like a sprint ability or a bigger backpack to old more item pickups. Unlock coins to use toward ship upgrades. Hidden treasures on each island can be accumulated to pop some achievements. It all adds up to the game’s core grind rewards, and there are enough upgrades to keep a player supremely busy. None of the rewards carry over into the next gameplay, which raises the stakes in the deeper island levels.
The first playthrough forces me to survive a ‘Hard’ level directly after the tutorial (in cheap fashion). This is presumably to teach the player that while unlocked attributes aren’t awarded after death, the play gets 50 gold and 100 experience for every tablet unlocked in the previous attempt. The problem here is that there’s no save feature… even to stop playing for the sitting. About 3 playthroughs were squashed because the Xbox didn’t save the game’s spot, and it caused a fresh start each time. At least games like State of Decay allow a doggy-ear save to allow a player to jump back into the mix from a fresh load screen.
Overall, Lost Sea starts out much better than it finishes. After so many playthroughs, there’s not so much about the game that’s deeply riveting, and having to grind through for the same upgrades over and over gets old. It also suffers greatly from the lack of a co-op multiplayer mode or even a PvP standoff for coins or tablets. Its infinite possibilities for islands works well, and it succeeds in providing the best stage for multiple replays.
Lost Sea is going to be a great arcade game to kill time. It’s still going to take no less than 10 hours of gameplay before it starts to lose its appeal, and that’s more than enough to ask out of an Xbox One arcade title. It doesn’t feature any riveting gameplay or noteworthy innovations, but it’s an addicting hack-n-slash all the way up until you outgrow it. This is definitely one of the most carefree and enjoyable pick-up and play Xbox One arcade titles this year.