Developed by: Frontier Developments
Reviewed by Frank L. Ocasio
There's a distinct hierarchy when it comes to WiiWare. I like to split them into three tiers:
1) The lowest tier is where the weakest games dwell. I usually call this the "Oh God. Why Does This Exist?" tier. Games like Major League Eating and Magnetica Twist are great examples of its citizens.
2) A step up is what I call the "This Is Just About Worth $10" tier, where you'll find such moderately entertaining titles as Wild West Guns and Defend Your Castle--and they're very possibly games you've played before online.
3) And finally, at the top, there's the Awesome Deal tier, the Mt. Olympus where the elite WiiWare titles dine on ambrosia. We're talking professionally made games you'd probably pay full price for. Megaman 9 is a great example.
And although it really should be here as well, I can't say LostWinds is another.
It's just. Too. Short.
And that really sucks because aside from that flaw, this game really nails it.
It's got style: not only is there a very cool approach to character design, but the setting and mood pull you into the game's ancient Asian setting immediately.
It's got awesome game-play: Honestly, this game still has the coolest applications for a Wii Remote that I've seen on any platformer. I can control the wind, so I can run the reticule over objects and characters to send a gust past them / grab them / lift them / trap them in vortexes / guide them on set courses? You're saying I can capture nearby flames and water in the wind and guide them for all my puzzle solving and foe smiting needs? What part of this isn't sweet?
It's got just enough story: The elemental spirits capture a rebel spirit (or something) and then, when they seal it away, Enril, the wind spirit helps subdue it and accidentally gets sealed away with it and--yeah, okay, whatever. I just--I want to play the game.
But it just doesn't have the length: I finished it after a mere 6 hours or so, which you've possibly heard already. I can only reiterate that it was like playing a glorified demo. A glorified demo that's just worth the 1000 Wii Points, but that ultimately leaves you hanging. Really, really hanging.
So the verdict here can only be confusing. What I will say is, among games like Major League Eating, this is a WiiWare title that actually deserves attention. A WiiWare title that's truly worth your Wii Points, especially if you're between bigger titles and want to pass the time. Just don't expect the epic you'll immediately want. And for the love of God, take your time with this one.
One more thing before I quit: Wikipedia lists LostWinds 2 as an upcoming Wii title. A little more poking revealed that Frontier has stated they are working on the sequel. Awesome... even if there's no release date to be found anywhere.
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