Nintendo's WiiWare lets independent developers create a plethora of cheap, downloadable games for the masses, and the company chose to make Frontier's LostWinds one of its launch games. Simple to play and attractive, this intriguing adventure should appeal to all ages, especially those looking for a meatier Wii experience.
LostWinds is a fully 3-D adventure in which you play as two characters at the same time, the boy Toku (the apparent savior of his world, Mistralis) and his sidekick, a wind spirit named Enril. You do this by maneuvering Toku with the nunchuk's analog stick while guiding Enril using the Wii remote. It shares similarities with Nintendo's DS game, Kirby Canvas Curse in the sense that you draw on the screen to help Toku reach new areas and destroy enemies. For example, if you approach a cliff, you press and hold A on the remote, then draw a line underneath Toku angled towards the edge, causing Toku to catch a gust of wind and land safely.
This also works with defeating enemies. If you come across one of the game's creatures, you press and hold A, then draw a quick circle around it, thus trapping it in a vortex. And if encircling your foes doesn't suit you, drawing a line on top of them enables Toku to fly above their heads without taking damage.
According to Frontier, enjoyment comes from experimenting with the game world, searching for ways to interact with the environment in order to push things along. It may be something as simple as planting and watering a seed to make it grow, thereby completing a puzzle.
As for LostWinds' story, don't expect anything epic. Although the game has a simple narrative where both Toku and Enril must work together to defeat the evil Balasar, the game doesn't feature any cut scenes and has limited dialogue. That's not a bad thing per se, but rather Frontier's commitment to focusing more on the gameplay.
It's too early to pass judgment, but we see lots of potential. LostWinds is a cool little game with a lot to offer, and we look forward to downloading it as soon as it goes live.