Konami has decided to convert its Lost in Blue DS adventure series onto Wii.
There were plenty of reasons not to like Lost in Blue. Personally I adored the game for its charming sense of adventure and unique, oddly touching ambiance, but it had definite problems that quite rightly turned many people away from it within the first few hours. Sexism, though, really wasn't one of them for me. Although the (universally male) game critics who criticised its man-hunt, woman-cook-and-clean portrayal of gender roles deserve points for effort, I really don't believe that there was anything malicious or genuinely upsetting about Lost in Blue's character roles; I think it was probably going for sweet co-dependence, but sadly it did end up coming across as a bit unenlightened.
Lost in Blue's real key problem was that it did very little to help the player. It offered no advice to the floundering novice, scrabbling desperately around in the mud to find edible grubs to keep themselves barely alive whilst they wrestled with their seemingly brain-dead fellow castaway, whose apparent refusal to eat or drink of her own volition drove many of the game's potential fans to distraction. It seemed like a thankless, unforgiving grind - until you learned its tricks. Until you figured out how to fashion more effective weapons, or use traps properly, or catch animals, or learned to tell your companion back in the cave to look after herself for a bit so that she wouldn't die of thirst whilst you popped out to fetch some berries. It was a difficult game, yes, and the game's various technical quirks exacerbated its already unforgiving nature, but it was also incredibly rewarding. Sadly it took a lot of time to master even the basics, and consequently Lost in Blue was full of depth and surprises that hardly anybody ever found.
At heart, Lost in Blue 2 is the same game as its predecessor, and it's got most of the same faults. It's hugely unhelpful, and leaves you to figure out for yourself a lot of information that really should have been in the manual - basic things like how to hunt, or tell your new partner to look after himself (yes, this time you can play as the lady, which should hopefully stop people from throwing allegations of sexism around like it's 1979). And it's a shame that it's so desperately inaccessible, it really is, because there is a rewarding, compelling, even touching game in here, just as there was in the original. You just have to work hard to find it.
Those of you eager to get your hands on Konami's rather excellent pocket Snake adventure will be slightly upset to see it has slipped out of April.
The sequel to Konami's DS adventure game Lost in Blue is due to wash ashore early next year.