Review: Lost Winds

18 Jun

Put aside any preconceived notions you have about Nintendo’s relatively new WiiWare service and spend the ten bucks it takes to purchase this delightful game. It’s sad that Lost Winds handles the Wii’s unique motion controls better than majority of the full-blown titles available for the system, but it’s also sad that the experience is so short. It comes down to how much you value ten bucks, but anyone interested in seeing an excellent example of what the Wii can do should definitely make the investment.

Beautiful game, beautiful gameplay

The game begins with our two heroes meeting for the first time. Toku, a young boy living in the beautiful land of Mistralis, is sleeping beneath a tree while Enril, an ancient wind spirit, wakes him up to embark on a journey to prevent the return of an ancient evil. The player controls Toku and his limited abilities with the Nunchuk while guiding Enril around as a reticule with the Wiimote.

Majority of the gameplay revolves around manipulating Toku and other objects with Enril’s wind powers in the side scrolling caves, waterfalls, and villages found within Mistalis. In the beginning, all you can do is shake the Wiimote back and forth beneath Toku as he falls to gently float him down to safety in the dangerous caves of Mistralis. You’ll also notice that many of the plant life and NPCs in the background are effected by Enril’s breezy presence as you pass over them, sometimes revealing tiny blue spirits that can grant you health. It doesn’t take long, however, to access Enril’s Gust ability. By holding down A and drawing a short line, Enril unleashes a gust of wind that can toss around anything in its path. You’ll mostly use this ability to throw Toku around to far off cliffs, giving Lost Winds a familiar platformer feel. The Gust ability is also used to move heavy objects in order to solve puzzles or attacks enemies. You can also toss about water and flames with Gust to grow plants and clear paths.

Enril eventually learns other powers including the ability to create a stream of wind that can be used to guide water and flames around obstacles, giving the later puzzles a bit more depth. Toku receives a useful cape later on that greatly increases his jumping range by catching more of Enril’s wind, but aside from that, he’ll remain mostly unchanged.

Super Toku!

Enemies are rare in Lost Winds, but you don’t handle them in the typical platforming manner. To defeat the blue, slimy Glorbs, you must hurl them against hard surfaces with Enril’s Gust. If they latch onto Toku, they begin to sap his strength. Toku has three hearts to represent his health, but Mistralis is full of fruit and tiny blue spirits that you can use to restore Toku to tip-top shape. As Enril’s powers and the game’s puzzles get more detailed, so do the enemies. Some don various sorts of armor that require different wind powers to remove.

The fun in Lost Winds comes in the form of its unique controls and charming presentation.

Controlling two characters at once will occasionally result in you performing two different actions at once on opposite ends of the screen. The controls work very well and, thanks to some great level design, you should find yourself enjoying them the entire way through.

You’ll immediately notice the colorful and playful graphics in Lost Winds. The game’s back-story and tutorials are illustrated in beautiful fashion and beg to be desktop wallpapers. The village and its inhabitants sport a style that looks like a fusion of ancient Peruvian and Chinese, and the game’s music follows suit. A single theme sounds through majority of the adventure. It matches the relaxing, charming style and gameplay and works well to set the atmosphere. When enemies are near, the music shifts to a tense drum beat, but returns to the gentle theme as soon as the threat has been eliminated.

The only major flaw in the game is its length or lack thereof. Taking into account a few difficult puzzles and a final boss battle, Lost Winds shouldn’t last you more than four hours. There isn’t much in the way of replay value aside from collecting various idols that are hidden throughout the game, though you’ll come across majority of those your first time through. The ending custscene and interviews with the game’s creators reveal that there will be a sequel, but there’s no telling when it will be ready.

Overall, Lost Winds is oozing with charm and offers rewarding gameplay through its excellent use of the Wii’s motion controls. It may be on the short side, but it’s only ten bucks. If you’re looking for a fun experience that can’t and won’t be found anywhere other than the Wii, Lost Winds is more than worth the investment.

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2 Responses to “Review: Lost Winds”

  1. Gamer12 June 20, 2008 at 4:08 AM #

    This is a very interesting game. Its controlling method is very new to me. I’m kind of LOST in playing Lost Winds in the beginning. However, after getting used to it, I do enjoy the game

  2. Ultimate Guide to Sports and Games April 1, 2010 at 12:33 PM #

    Solid post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am having a hard time getting my subscribers to leave comments. They are coming to the web site but I have the impression that “nobody wants to be first”.

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