Lost Sea is the latest roguelike to hit the Switch, and unfortunately, it doesn't fare too well against the competition. With poor presentation, questionable mechanics, and sometimes-frustrating gameplay, Lost Sea is bound to drift away into the depths of the eShop, where it likely won't make much of a splash (that's the last water-based pun we'll use, honestly).
In Lost Sea, you play an adventurer stranded in the Bermuda Triangle. There are a series of islands scattered across four separate areas that are only accessible via magical tablets that can take you to each one. Islands are randomly selected by the tablets and are categorised as easy, medium or hard. At the beginning of each run, you choose which character you'd like to play, who are different in only their appearance (an Indiana Jones type, a caveman type and so on). You are given a machete to kill the various creatures and inhabitants of each procedurally generated island, and can find items and other characters along the way to help you.
As you play, you can unlock new abilities, such as sprinting, more health and item slots and more companions to bring with you on your journey. Companions play a large role in Lost Sea, granting you different buffs and perks. For example, some can repair broken bridges to help you progress, while others can revive you if you happen to die on your island-based odyssey.
So far, so good, right? Lost Sea would be fine if not for the punishing roguelike elements. When you do happen to die, you start over at the first island and have to build up your skills all over again. This wouldn't be so frustrating if collecting coins and resources wasn't so slow to start. Additionally, each of the four areas has multiple locations, meaning you may have to slog through island after island, depending on where your tablet takes you. After clearing an area's boss, you can choose to warp to that area from the start, but the difficulty ramps up very quickly, so it's in your best interest to start from the beginning each time.
The world of Lost Sea is colorful and cute, but you start to see the same enemies over and over again, and while the four areas have different themes (such as 'jungle' and 'desert'), the assets appear the same, just recolored. Playing in undocked mode, we ran into some slowdown, which is surprising, given that the game doesn't appear to be too technically demanding.
Lost Sea isn't necessarily a bad game, but if you're not a fan of roguelikes, steer clear. For fans of roguelikes, Lost Sea doesn't quite nail what makes them so addictive and replayable. If you don't mind a slow, plodding trek over and over again, Lost Sea can provide some hours of mindless enjoyment.