Monday, July 21, 2008

Piffman2 Reviews LostWinds

I’m sad to report that Mr. Tim’s excellent LostWinds review has been lost forever due to the nefarious hacker X (and Tim forgot to save). However, back in May I wrote my own review of this gem of a WiiWare game and figured now was the time to share it with you all

LostWinds Review

Being a strict Nintendo gamer my whole life, I missed out on the downloadable game craze. However, with the launch of Wiiware and games like LostWinds, I and many more of the Nintendo faithful now have the chance to see what all the hype is about.

Tornadoes and hurricanes can be destructive and lethal but when I think of wind peace usually comes to mind. So, Lostwind’s peaceful style and story make a lot of sense. You control a young boy named Toku along with the wind spirit Enril in the land of Mistralis on a quest to defeat the evil spirit Balasar. One of the first things you’ll notice about LostWinds is how amazing it looks. The game is charmingly cute with a rural and vaguely Japanese what with its cherry blossoms. However, there are only two different locations, the village in the meadow and the dark caves. Still, the art style is beautiful and even the graphics are impressive. The geometry is simple but there is a nice sort of bloom lighting over it similar to Mario Kart Wii. Also, everything reacts to the wind you create. It’s a subtle but appreciated detail. The graphical standard for WiiWare has been set. Now we can be truly be angry when WiiWare games look like cell phone games.

The game looks better than far too many actual Wii games

One of the best things about WiiWare is how it allows developers to share their simple yet novel Wii game ideas without worrying about money-hungry publishers. LostWind’s gameplay is a great example of why this model works. You control Toku with the nunchuk while guiding the wind spirit Enril with the pointer. Using the wind, Enril can blow Toku around to aid in his platforming. It is very similar to Kirby Canvas Curse on the DS. There’s a bit of a learning curve and even once you get it down it isn’t as smooth as you would like it to be. You’ll still feel like an all-powerful wind god though. While there is an awesome final boss, there aren’t many enemies. Instead the challenge comes from environmental puzzles. What surprised me was how there’s a Metroid/Castlevania style backtracking element to the game. You’ll get wind powers like vortexes and fiery slipstreams. Then you’ll be able to access new areas. The world is compact and I never got lost for long but a map would have been nice. I had to find one on GameFaqs.

Here’s everyone’s biggest problem with LostWinds. It is only three hours long. Yes it is disappointing however the game is very well-paced ends on a high note. The ending felt very natural where it was. If the core game was extended it would probably become very tedious. To make LostWinds longer a lot of new content would need to be added. However, there is another problem I have with LostWinds. It’s painfully obvious that the game was developed with a sequel in mind. It has already been announced. At the end of the game very little is resolved and the game flashes “To be continued…”

Almost every one of my problems with LostWinds can be forgiven because it is a 40 some mb downloadable game. It is short, especially compared to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King but the time I spent with it was so fun I really did not care. Plus it’s always possible to go back and replay that boss fight. Some say that future consoles will be massive hard drives and all games will be downloadable. With all of the awesome WiiWare games coming out I cannot wait for this future. LostWinds is amazing and it is only the beginning. Believe the hype.


No comments: