Review by woodmanexe
"1/8 of a great game for 1/4 of a great game's price"
When the WiiWare service was released I just couldn't wait to play any of those games (even though I wasn't originally interested on any of the release titles). So since I'm a platforming fan and I had read many positive reviews about it, I decided to download LostWinds, the most beautiful-looking release title and probably also the most beautiful among the announced WiiWare games so far. My first impressions of the game were great, but after a few gameplay hours (or better, a couple of them, since it was the time it took me to finish the game) the game became a series of small disappointments that made me quickly change my opinion about it.
As I stated before, the graphics are very good-looking and exceeded my expectations. Frontier did a great job with visual effects and backgrounds. The graphics aren't comparable to "real" Wii games that push the Wii to its limit like Metroid Prime 3 or Mario Galaxy but I'd say these are the best graphics a downloadable WiiWare game could ever have. The only problem about them is that they get repetitive after some time. Of course, since this is a downloadable game and it can't use many wii blocks, I understand that there couldn't be many different ambient themes in the game, but knowing that your next mission will take place in another cave with waterfalls and blue mushrooms can get disappointing after 3 or 4 times.
The controls in the game are very simple: the nunchuk's analog stick will move Toku, the main character, left and right, Z is the action button and is used in specific occasions and the rest of the actions are activated with the Wiimote: you can draw gust lines that push Toku and other objects to an direction, stream lines that create air currents in the shape you want, and some others as you progress in the game. It's really easy and fun to control the wind and I'd give the controls a 10/10 if there weren't some minor glitches every now and then.
This game's soundtrack is awesome and very immersive. It's like the ones they play in yoga classes and spiritual TV programs and they make the gameplay feel relaxing and pleasant. Wind sound effects are very well-made, specially the one when you shake the cursor around the screen, it really gives you the feeling that you are controlling the air. But the sound effects aren't perfect either. Frontier should have revised the sound effects of the game a little more before publishing it: some of them are too loud and it makes them unrealistic, while some of them are too quiet, almost inaudible. For example, when an enemy hits you, you hear no sound, so the only way to notice you are taking damage (or even dying) is looking at your health meter.
Not much to say here. The plot is what one could call "generic". Also, be warned that the game doesn't tell the whole story of LostWinds, but something like the first chapter of Toku's adventure. I won't spoil the ending but have in mind that there are no twists whatsoever.
This game is pretty fun while it lasts. Puzzles are simple overall but some rooms can get quite challenging. Every time Toku finds a Wind Shrine, he gets a new ability, making the gameplay deeper and creating new possibilities for you to explore the rooms and get to new areas. There are 24 hidden collectible items but it's not a real challenge to find all of them. The game is kind of glitchy at some points, I got stuck inside a wall more than once and sometimes the Gust ability doesn't work properly (this happened just once to me though)
LostWinds is about finding and opening 4 chests that are hidden thourghout the world. It took me around one hour to open the first one and another hour to get to the second one. So I started thinking that I was midway through the game and that it would take me 2 more hours to get the 2 remaining chests. I was wrong: each of the chests took me no more than 10 minutes to get, resulting in a 2 hours and 20 minutes run. I was already expecting the game to be very short but not so much; I tried playing it very slowly, with no hurry, appreciating the level design and yet I finished it in a little more than 2 hours. That was extremely disappointing for me. LostWinds felt like 1/8 of a great game for 1/4th of a great game's price.
My final score for this game is 6.0.
I don't regret having downloaded this game. I only wish it was longer. But it was a very nice preview of how will the WiiWare games look. If you, like me, just want to play a good WiiWare game to see what they're capable of, this is a good option, but I recommend you to wait until World of Goo or something. If you want to play a good platforming game, download a VC game. If you don't like platforming games, keep yourself away from LostWinds.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 05/19/08
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