Although it took Nintendo more than a year to offer original, downloadable games for Wii owners, WiiWare has finally made its North American debut. LostWinds, the flagship title for Nintendo’s newest service, is by far the best available game to purchase on WiiWare.
While LostWinds does posses a story, understanding it isn’t important to the gameplay. The meat of LostWinds lies in the ability to control Toku, the hero, and his wind spirit companion. Players use the pointer on the Wiimote to aim at the screen, and assume the role of the wind to manipulate objects in the environment. At the same time, Toku can be controller with the nunchuck. Even though this may seem a bit complicated, the learning curve in LostWinds is basically nonexistent.
The set up of LostWinds can be best compared to New Super Mario Bros. Objects (and the environments) are rendered in beautiful 3D, but Toku can only sidescroll through the levels akin to Mario’s outing on the DS. While progressing through each level, there are a few puzzles thrown at the player, usually testing newfound abilities. The player will lift boulders and throw them in the air and force fire to travel in specific paths.
LostWinds is worthy of accolade, as the action flows smoothly from using Toku and his wind spirit to succinct puzzles. However, in spite of the plentiful puzzles, none are ever too tricky. Using your brain, nonetheless, even for a few seconds, helps to break up what might otherwise be monotonous gameplay.
Also commendable in LostWinds are the production values. The game not only features soothing, pleasant tunes, but eye-catching graphics to match. Without a doubt, the graphics in Lost Winds are superior to many Wii retail games.
Based on what I’ve played so far, I truly believe that LostWinds should be a template for future WiiWare – and even Wii – titles. At the same time, it is more than worthy of being WiiWare’s premiere title. Perhaps the only regrettable downside is the length of the game, as it will only take a few hours to complete. Regardless, LostWinds only costs $10, which is well worth the price of admission.