LostWinds was, and remains one of the very best games on Nintendo’s WiiWare service. Now, like the sublime World of Goo, the game has made its way to iPhone where it will hopefully find the wider audience it so richly deserves.
Created by David Braben’s Frontier Developments, the game sees you in control of two characters at once; the main ‘platforming’ Toku, and Enril, the Wind Spirit that provides all of the great innovation here. Using Enril to help, you must guide Toku on his quest to rid his land of the curse placed upon it.
When you start your adventure, Toku is relatively defenceless and he more or less remains that way for the course of the game. Enril, on the other hand controls the power of the wind, and can summon gales and gusts at will. You can cause the wind to blow wherever you swipe across the screen, and this is used at its most basic level to get Toku across large gaps, but soon becomes an integral part of the awesome puzzle solving to be found here. You can use the wind to guide a stream of fire around a problem, or to power an spinning blade to make Toku soar, or to alter the flow of water to aid you or even summon a tornado. These are just a few of the functions you will joyfully discover as you explore the world of Mistralis.
The game plays out a little like a Metroid title in terms of level construction, as you will have to backtrack to reach previously unobtainable objects and areas. It does encourage you to explore, and there are a few villagers to chat to along to way, but the problem is that it is all too small. The world is rich and detailed, and packed with things to do, but much like the WiiWare original, you will probably defeat the tricky boss believing it to be the first of many when it is actually the first and last boss in the game.
I don’t have a massive problem with that, as the two or three hours you will spend with the game are among the best in platform gaming anywhere, and you will have better memories of this than any game with twice as much content. I can’t completely forgive the lack of levels, however good the game is. It is the only thing stopping me from going crazy with the score below.
The game hasn’t changed that much in terms of quantity of levels since its initial release, but the graphics look so much better on the iPhone’s sharp screen and really come to life. The game is a wistful, windswept and peaceful affair and the beautiful graphics really help to draw you into its world of pastel shades and gorgeous lighting and wind effects. The music is equally good, with haunting chimes really bringing out the best in the game.
The developer has added Game Center integration with all the included achievements, and there is a new ‘Snapshot’ feature that allows you to place the characters from the game into your iPhone’s photos and email them to your friends. It is a nice feature but I doubt you will spend more than five minutes with it in all honesty.
So, the choice really comes down to the buyer. What you are getting here is a fantastic platform game with completely original and innovative features that feels like a cross between Wind Waker and Metroid, with beautiful graphics, a fantastic musical score and engaging characters. The problem is there is no more than three hours, or maybe four if you really take your time and go for all of the achievements, of real gameplay here.
I think that any discerning gamer should snap this up and stay up late waiting for the sequel. Buy this, sit down with a cup of coffee in a peaceful house and enjoy the best few hours in gaming, and saviour every moment.