Review by Imperage

Reviewed: 06/18/08

Lostwinds will leave you with a smile on your face

As a WiiWare launch title, LostWinds shows the incredible potential the WiiWare service has to offer with low priced, accessible, and unique games from developers who might never have had a chance to release their vision to the world.

First, I will mention the graphics. While definitely not pushing the limits of the Wii, considering the space requirements, Frontier has done a remarkable job with a colorful, simple, and inviting artistic style which oozes quality and tranquility. With the wind mechanic, you can watch the trees blow and move grass and other objects in the background giving the whole area a sense of life. The design of the characters in the game should be mentioned as well with rustic village attire with a hint of the mystical with capes and unique headgear. The main character Toku definitely has charm and adds to the overall experience. There are many full fledged Wii games that simply do not look this good, especially some of the other WiiWare games that have come out lately. Developers need to take note and up the ante on future WiiWare titles. I am eager to see if even more graphical prowess can be achieved with the space limitations.

Next, adding to the tranquility of the setting is the game’s soundtrack. Beautiful soft tunes with flute instrumentals intermixed with jungle beats. Added to the visuals, the music can lull one into almost a meditative state and certainly lends the game a sense of calm and relaxation. Definite care was taken when creating the soundtrack.

As far as the story is considered, there is not very much to tell. With only minimal dialogue the main elements are revealed at the beginning and the end with a colorful slide show of pictures similar to the beginning of Wind Waker. The basic gist of the story can be considered pretty typical with an evil threatening the land which must be stopped by a small boy and his wind spirit companion. There lies room at the end for a sequel which is already in development.

While the simplistic story may irk some, this game is all about the game play which makes excellent use of the Wii Remote. You move the main character with the nunchuck and you use the Wii remote to direct the wind and activate certain wind abilities. Different abilities are gained intermittently throughout the adventure, all more rewarding than the last. The mechanics really are fun to play with and show a lot of potential which should be capitalized upon for the sequel. The gestures never prove too complicated and are on a quick learning curve. After a few minutes of practicing a new technique you will be doing it without even thinking. The main essence of the game involves exploring caves, hill sides, and villages while solving simplistic puzzles to find certain powers or other items essential to the game. While most likely none of the puzzles will leave you scratching your head, you will not get frustrated either. They are fairly fun to solve but perhaps a little too simplistic, more ambitious puzzle designs could have been developed.
As far as criticisms go, my biggest with game play involved the fact there were relatively little diversity in enemy characters making it all too easy to defeat them, all the enemies are basically variants of a black blob which of course tie into the story but a little more variety would have been nice. More diversity in level design could have also been added as well, there are a few too many caves and not enough open environments for my taste. Also, there is only one boss in the game. Including at least one or two more bosses could have helped up the game’s fun factor as well as added to the game’s length which will of course be the biggest criticism against LostWinds. Clocking in at only about 3 hours, the game definitely could be completed in one sitting. I would recommend breaking your playing session up into small intervals. But with the game’s charming visuals and beautiful music, it is definitely worth a replay. Also considering that you are paying 10 dollars for a 3 hour experience, it doesn’t seem so bad since 60 dollar games can last as little as 10-15 hours.

LostWinds is a very well rounded solid experience that Wii enthusiasts should not miss. For a 1000 Wii points, you will be getting a fun game with a soundtrack and visual style that will not only leave you smiling but make you a little more relaxed. Also, by showing support for this game better quality Wii Ware games may come down the pipeline, and hopefully Frontier will strive to fix some of the minor issues with this game to create an even better more polished sequel.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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