Take control of the wind

LostWinds was one of the first very good original WiiWare titles to hit the scene in 2008. The game blended a nice mixture of pleasant graphics and easy-to-use controls to provide a one-of-a-kind experience. Now it’s near the end of 2011 and LostWinds is back in its entirety on iOS devices. While it hasn’t aged as well as I thought it would (the problems are mostly due to control), the game’s charm and tremendous style still stays intact.

LostWinds is about a boy named Toku who has been tasked with saving his home from a nefarious ancient evil spirit. It’s not the most original story, but as a means to move the game forward it does the job well enough. Exploring Toku’s world of Mistralis is pleasant on the eyes, especially for someone like me that adores the PlayStation 2 classic Okami—a game that is bursting at the seams with love for nature. With LostWinds, you’ll get the same feel as you explore lush green landscapes with cherry blossoms rustling in the background.

How you control Toku is very similar to how you controlled him in the WiiWare game, only you’re going to be using your finger to swipe Toku around the world, rather than gesturing with your arm. Navigating the 2D plane that Toku inhabits is also slightly different, with the analog stick being ditched for touching the edge of the screen to move Toku forwards or backwards. For the most part, this system works fairly well, but I never felt as confident in my ability to be accurate when playing the iOS version of the game compared to the experience I had on the Wii. Often times I would find myself not swiping at the correct angle, or not having my multiple swipes registered in the game. For a game that demands a bit of precision at times, this is most disappointing and frustrating.

LostWinds

While you’ll be fighting the controls a bit too much, the game really shines in its puzzle design. You’ll have a lot of games that take very oblique ideas for puzzles and throw them in there to create a “challenge” for players. LostWinds does not cheat players in this way. All of the puzzles conform to the rules the game teaches you about your ability. It is up to the player to take stock of their surroundings, objects, abilities and objectives to figure out the best way to move forward. You’ll sometimes be scratching your head (and in the case of this version, cursing the controls) at a few of the puzzles, but you’ll always have a great cathartic moment when the answer is revealed to yourself.

While this version of LostWinds fails to live up to the lofty heights set by the 2008 WiiWare version, the game is all here and is just as visually pleasing on iOS. If you still have a Wii and have not played LostWinds, I would recommend purchasing it on that platform. However, if you want to solve some neat puzzles and explore a beautiful cherry-blossom filled world, forgive the slight control annoyance and give this game a shot.