|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Frontier Dev.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Frontier Dev.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 12, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
This is the first WiiWare title I've played, and I'm very pleased with it. WiiWare offers us the opportunity to buy small, lower-budget games at a fraction of what you'd pay at a retail store for a fully fledged game. It's not like Nintendo invented the wheel with the WiiWare download service, but there's uniqueness to it because the games take advantage of the innovative motion controls; this opens a lot of doors for creativity that you could never find on the Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation store. Of course, lots of worthless titles will be released as well, but at least they'll be cheap.
From the small launch lineup of WiiWare games, LostWinds stands out from the rest. Sure, the new Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game brought by Square Enix wins in popularity, but LostWinds is unique and imaginative. If you don't mind using the Wii's motion controls in special ways and enjoy adventure / puzzle / platform titles, you'll end up loving this game, because it has it all.
The charming and inspired visuals are what drew me into this game in the first place. The Japanese influence is patent as soon as you see the beautiful and blossoming cherry trees spread throughout the lands. The idyllic and bucolic surroundings burst full of life. Despite its sweet and innocent feel, the level and character design reminds me a lot of other Nintendo games like Super Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, though LostWinds looks more three-dimensional. However, not everything is how it looks, because the game scenarios actually lack depth. LostWinds is a 3D-looking, sidescrolling adventure. On numerous occasions I felt like exploring further into the homes depicted in the cute little villages, but sadly, I couldn't. I won't hold it against the developers though, because the game is what it is, and making it deeper would greatly increase developing time and production costs.
The game plot is cute and simple, but above all, very traditional. Early in the game you'll find out the world of Mistralis is under an evil curse. Toku, a young little fellow from the town next door, meets Enril, the powerful Wind Spirit who can save Mistralis after it recovers its powers. There are a few other typical characters you'll encounter, like the explorer that knows everything about the area or the wise, old mage that will eventually lend his knowledge for the cause.
The visuals and the story are not the only cool things about LostWinds. The game controls beautifully most of the time, and the way it works is fun and satisfying. Some people may compare the gameplay style to Kirby Canvas Curse, a Nintendo DS game where you move Kirby around by dragging the stylus over the screen and drawing lines that mark the path he'll follow. Lost Winds is not quite like that, but there's certainly a resemblance.