LostWinds is a title that takes us back five years or so to another game that was very much concerned with wind and air. This was a game that sucked wind rather than blew it around and it was a game that involved a plumber rather than a small child with an oddly shaped head. LostWinds is for the Wii what Luigi's Mansion was for the GameCube. The first game we played on the little purple box was Luigi's Mansion and we completed it it one sitting. It was a perfect technical demo of what the console was capable of in terms of graphics, style and, just as importantly, controls. LostWinds, then, is a somewhat belated technical demo of how 'proper' games can be done on Wii.
Yes, Wii Sports is seen as the perfect example of what the Wii is about, but not all of us are grandparents and/or trendy lifestyle folk who live in Ikea homes. Some of us like our games to be hardcore, or at least a bit more 'traditional'. LostWinds not only delivers a more traditional type of game to the Wii, it does it in a way that is perfectly suited to the platform in both style and execution.
At under 50MB in size the game deals with the constraints of the WiiWare platform perfectly. The pseudo-2D/3D side-scrolling look is both beautiful and simple with vivid and vibrant colours laid out as far as the eye can see. The trick comes in when you realise it is all side-scrolling. The game has a pretty simple premise, you are the good guy and you have to fight the bad guy. Whilst it isn't going to win any awards for a cerebral plot it does contain a nice and sometimes vaguely amusing story that keeps the game plodding along at a ponderous and calm pace.
You control Toku and, somewhat ingenuously, the wind spirit Enril as you battle your way past the forces of evil to free the people of Mistralis. The game works on a rather simple premise, by using the Wii Remote to control the wind. In doing this you can attack enemies, do amazingly long and or high jumps and even open doors and pick up boulders to throw around. For such a simple mechanic the results are really varied and you'll find yourself running around playing with the wind. What's even better than this is the upgrades you get to your powers. You get different ways to control the power of the wind and you even get a cape, which might just be one of the coolest 'power ups' in a videogame ever.
The control system works perfectly allowing you to move around the environments with an ease and a style that is unique to the Wii. Up swipes with the Wii Remote will move Toku upwards, and eventually you'll find yourself drifting upwards to precarious ledges and even gusting up and round ledges to land on platforms above. Stringing together a perfect gust or two is really satisfying and whilst a little tricky to perfect it is simple once mastered. Get bored of doing it alone and you can also get a friend to control the wind as well with a second remote, Mario Galaxy star bit-shooting stylee. Try not to think of it as a proper attempt at a co-op mode and more of a nice little extra to play around with.
The game is basically one great big living puzzle. You have a task to complete and in order to complete it you have to manipulate the wind and the environment around you to progress. Most of the enemies are about as threatening as a bag of flour with a hole in it and can be dispatched with ease, so it is the environments that provide the real test for your noggin.
We've only really got two complaints about this game. One is that everything always seems to be based either to the east or the west of where you are. This makes for a lot of walking back and forward, which gets a little confusing (especially as the game has no map), and whilst floating around is fun it is a bit slow. Our other complaint is the length. Yes, Frontier have come out and said that it is better value than some full-price Wii titles, which is true, but those games are probably terrible and not worth playing. LostWinds is a mini-masterpiece that, for us, was over in just over two and a half hours. That isn't very long at all.
But we really can't moan too much. Everything about this little offering is just about perfect. The graphics are beautiful and the music is so calming it makes you want to go and try and summon the power of the elements yourself by running around outside in a cape and gown (alas, this doesn't work). The controls are absolutely spot-on and a demonstration of what can be done with both WiiWare and the Wii if a developer is willing to put in the effort and has a good enough idea. This is what the Wii is about and it is, without a doubt, one of the best offerings on the system to date.
The controls are just about perfect and the puzzles the game sets out, whilst occasionally a tad simplistic, are ingenious and always inventive. The whole mechanic of using the wind as a tool and a weapon is used expertly throughout the game. All in all, great implementation of the Wii Remote into a more �conventional� gaming experience.
The 2D-side scrolling nature of the game allows for wonderful detail and style. Whilst the caves and mines of the game might be a bit dank and bland looking they still retain a sense of pizzaz that is so often lacking in the mass of "template" Wii games. The outside environments, and the smooth animation seen throughout the game and its characters, are simply brilliant.
Pastoral and calming music that is totally in-keeping with the feel of the game as a whole. The music that creeps in when evil is afoot is a bit annoying though, and perhaps slightly over the top when you consider the puny nature of the enemies.
Simple gaming maths for this one. The game costs 1000 Wii Points, which is about £7 in real money. A full price Wii game comes in at anywhere between £30 and £40. 6 x £7 = £42. We completed LostWinds in 2.5 hours and 6 x 2.5 hours = 15 hours. Even 10 hours is an acceptable-ish length for a full-price game. Taking it on that logic, the length of LostWinds suddenly isn't so shocking. Perhaps...
This really is a mini-masterpiece. The presentation is top-notch and the controls are the best example we've seen so far in a Wii game, surpassing even the use of the Wii Remote in Super Mario Galaxy. Whilst it might not have the same clout and scale of Nintendo's (far bigger) offering, LostWinds is, for us, a much better demonstration of the new technologies that the Wii champions. 1000 Wii Points might seem like a lot, but it is great value for what is one of the most enchanting and downright fun experiences the Wii has to offer. Casual gamers move aside, this one's for the old-school.
Good review. A word of advice I'd give to anyone that hasn't got LostWinds and is going to get it: make sure you know this is a short game! That way you won't be as disappointed when it ends, and you will hopefully appreciate the game more, while it lasts.
Good good good good I have so many games to play at the moment my revision is going to torture me! I just bought FFCC DS (fantastic BTW) and some more Wii Points so I could get this!
Looks like everyone'll be excited for LostWinds 2 ^^
For me this seems like a perfect demo for what WiiWare is all about - short and sweet fun. James covers everything I was thinking about for this game and I definitely agree that the 8/10 is more than fair. There is certainly room for improvement...but a fantastic first effort from Frontier.
Wow, sounds as good as it looks! Once I top up me Wii points will definitely give it a download! Seems to be one of the more stronger titles for WiiWare at the moment. Great review James!
Well worth the purchase Jorge, you won't regret it
The perfect game to show off what wii ware can do. Heres hoping for a sequal soon.
Yes, one of the best games for Wii overall! Really!
It's great atmosphere alms and surrounds you. Graphics are great, no thing about 'Wii=shitty graphics', you love the music, animation and world all have a 'cuteee and wow, well done' factor to it and the production design is well immersed in limited space of Wiiware and is bound to make the absolut best of it.
And face it: great game mechanics.
It deserves your 1000 Wii points!
I really enjoyed Lost Winds. The cape, although a good powerup, isn't exactly original, Super Mario World anyone? Not that it matters at all to me.
I guess ill give this game a shot.
2.5 hours? WTF? So glad I didnt get it. Wait for summin special to pop up.