Review by ChichiriMuyo
"Worth the price, but still leaves a lacking feeling"
LostWinds is a very attractive game, providing colorful visuals along with a cute, if somewhat uninspired, art style that does a fair job of setting the tone of the world. The few characters of significance are not especially memorable, nor is any part of the world as a whole, but the overall presentation is more than sufficient to reach what appears to be the goal of the developer. The story is presented well, and the overall appearance of the world certainly fits the tone it sets.
Furthermore, the music, while itself not being especially catchy, lends itself to the setting in a way that makes the world feel complete, if a bit cartoonish and impersonal. The melodies presented in LostWinds in and of themselves do lend to the somewhat foreign feel of the game's world, despite being of a Japanese persuasion (something all too common to many gamers these days). Though the music rarely strays far from calm, it still matches the feel of the gameplay quite well. There is, frankly speaking, very few tense moments where more active music would seem necessary.
Likewise, the other acoustic elements of the game fit the overall non-threatening nature of LostWinds's world. The enemies rarely, if ever, make noises of their own, and those that do are not in any way threatening. Glorbs, the most common enemy faced in the game, sound more cute than threatening, but it is very hard to fault them for this considering the world they exist in and the role they play. Beyond the enemies, most sounds are generated by the use of the wind spirit Enril's powers, or the result thereof. The are many gasps and squeals to go with the rustling of leaves heard in response to waving the WiiMote, bringing a good deal more life to the people in LostWinds than their visual responses do.
At the heart of the matter, of course, is the gameplay of LostWinds, and this is where the developers did not fail to deliver. Toku himself isn't much on moving, but having control of the wind makes this a rather moot point. With a simple wave of the Wiimote while holding the button you can fling Toku around at will, as well as any enemies, and later guide him as he flies to areas that would otherwise be unreachable. Elements of the environment, including torches, waterfalls, and boulders, may be interacted with through the wind spirit Enril's powers to complete puzzles that are not as clever as they could be, but challenging enough to keep the player busy.
Where the game really shines is in cooperative play, where you are able to assist a friend as they follow Toku's story. Or hinder them, if it strikes your fancy. Since the second player had the same wind powers the first player is capable of wielding, it is possible to sabotage the attempts of your partner to some humorous ends. Of course, a co-op game doesn't do much if the players can't work together, and the mechanics certainly allow for that. In addition to being able to work together to accomplish tasks an unskilled player may not be capable of on their own, having a second Wiimote active also allows one of the players to hold the A button (used for gusting) to slow all of Toku's movements. This will even allow TWO unskilled players to work together to accomplish tasks they couldn't otherwise, and will ensure that most tasks will be completed with full success rather than frustrating failure.
The controls respond not just as expected, but quite well in comparison to many other games that use the WiiMote, and they lead to great deal of interaction with the environment. Though that interaction is often not directly related to completing the game, it brings a good deal of life to the game that the characters do not, as well as a sense of "simple fun" that so many other games simply ignore. It is, honestly speaking, a joy to listen to girls giggle as the wind you control blows their skirts around, even if the game doesn't allow the pervert in you to check out their underwear.
LostWinds is an intriguing game that is well worth the purchase, but feels a bit lacking as in overall presentation. Despite containing enough content to compete with 1/5th of most retail games while maintaining 1/5th of the price, it feels as if something is missing. Perhaps it needs one more quest or an additional boss fight to round out the overall experience, but the three to four hours provided by the game still justify the purchase. If you have a friend to play this with, it's definitely worth picking up. Otherwise, it's still well worth considering as LostWinds will provide a solid 3-4 hours of enjoyment in a single play-through. The only question is if the second episode of this story will add enough to continue Toku's story and whether or not it will be released soon enough to be relevant, since the game as it is absolutely demands more content to feel whole.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/23/08
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