iPhone App Video Review: LostWinds

by Andrew Koziara

LostWinds is an excellent platforming adventure game from Frontier Developments, originally released as a launch title on the Wii's WiiWare service in 2008. The motion controls of the WiiMote generally translate well into touch screen controls, and while they work here, they aren't perfect. The game's innovative mechanics, unique art style, and soothing atmosphere make it a title worth playing, as long as you can deal with the clunky controls.

The game tells a tale of spirits and deities on a magical floating island. You play as Toku, a boy who is being aided by the wind spirit Enril to defeat and seal away the power hungry spirit known as Balasar. Aided by Enril's wind themed powers and abilities, you set out to overcome Balasar's minions and bring balance back to the world. The story is well done, and the characters make you feel pretty attached to the world. It makes it all worth saving.

This is an open world side scrolling platformer in the same vein as Metroid or Castlevania. You explore different areas and find new powers that give you access to even more areas. So on and so forth. Tapping anywhere to the left or right of Toku will send him there, and holding either edge of the screen will make him auto run in that direction. All other interactions, from jumping to attacking, are done by swiping the screen, which manifests in the form of gusts of wind from Enril. The game plays pretty well. You don't always know where to go or what to do, but the puzzles and obstacles you face are well designed and fun to overcome. The only thing holding this game back are the controls. While they are unique and often fun to use, precision platforming becomes very difficult. It's even worse if you're like me, and try to blow through such segments quickly. Slow and steady definitely win the race here.

The bright visuals resemble a nice painting, and are often breathtaking. The soundtrack matches the eastern tone of the game perfectly, and it's very soothing most of the time. The atmosphere created here is worth the price of admission alone. Game Center achievements are supported, and this iOS universal game can be yours for four dollars. If you're willing to deal with the control issues, you'll find this is quite a gem of a game. Hopefully the sequel will get ported as well.

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