LostWinds cover art
Square Enix (Japan)
LostWinds is a 2008 platform video game developed by Frontier Developments and published for the Wii as a launch title for WiiWare. In LostWinds, the player controls a young boy named Toku and the elemental wind spirit Enril (and in two-player mode, a second player also controls Enril) as they travel Mistralis in order to rescue it from the antagonist Balasar, a vengeful spirit.
The player controls Toku and Enril simultaneously, using the Wii Remote on the Wii or a gesture on iOS to draw directional paths on-screen that control the wind. Wind is used to enhance Toku's jumps, defeat or immobilise enemies and solve puzzles. A second player can also join in with their Wii Remote controlling a second on-screen wind cursor, allowing Toku to fly farther but not higher.
The game starts when a boy named Toku is awakened by the wind. As he heads back toward his home, the bridge he's on collapses and he falls into a cave, where he finds a crystal shard. The shard starts talking and reveals itself to be a spirit of wind, Enril. Enril was trapped in this form when Balasar, one of the spirits assigned to watch over the land, decided to conquer the world. Using all her might Enril trapped Balasar in a crystal- but in the process she herself was also trapped. Eventually Balasar grew powerful enough to break free. Unfortunately, Enril was still trapped.
Using Enril's power Toku is able to navigate himself out of the cave and learns how to use the wind to jump higher in the process. Once out he goes to see Deo, his babysitter. Enril seems to recognize Deo but Deo doesn't hear her. Deo then tells Toku to buy him something from the herb store. However it is revealed that the village has been hit by several earthquakes lately. One of the quakes destroys the herb shop. Seeing nothing else for Toku to do, Deo lets him go play.
Questioning why Deo didn't hear her, Enril talks to Toku and a nearby archaeologist hears Enril. He tells them about how the ancients built several devices to beckon the return of the spirit of the wind. He points out one such device in a cave known as The Chamber of Memories. Toku and Enril follow his directions and discover a cave that has several statues, along with the Slipstream ability. Upon opening it they decide to talk to Deo who reveals he knows Enril and is one of the spirits himself.
Before Deo can help though he says his memory has been locked away in four chests, including the one the player already opened. He tells them to check the old mines and inside they find the Vortex ability and a new chest. Returning Deo tells them about another chest located near the falls and the other in the abandoned village. Deo also gives Toku a Jumbrella Cape to allow him to fly.
Once the chests are opened Deo says he remembers where his power is. He left it with a monster known as Magmok, located below the Chamber of Memories. Despite saying Magmok is a friendly creature, the Chamber shakes and the monster roars. Deo warns Toku and the two head outside to see a corrupted Magmok rise from the earth, revealing he was the cause of the quakes. Toku removes the pieces of corruption on his hands and head and Magmok removes the rest. He then picks up Deo and gives him a shining light.
In the epilogue, Deo tells the other spirits that Enril is back. However Balasar got a hold of the message as well and is plotting to defeat the "boy-hero".
The genesis of LostWinds stems from a Frontier "Game of the Week" competition to develop a game that took advantage of the Wii Remote. The idea for the game itself came from Steve Burgess, a designer for Frontier. He was watching the wind blow through some trees and began thinking about a way to have a player become the wind in a game. He began envisioning puzzles and later added a second character to be "moved" and "protected" by the wind, and applied his ideas to the Wii Remote.
At the end of the game, a short epilogue is played as well as the words "to be continued…". Shortly after the release of LostWinds, Frontier Developments announced that a sequel was in development. On 29 August 2009, a feature in Edge magazine announced that the sequel would be named LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias. LostWinds 2 was released on 19 October 2009.
LostWinds received a largely positive response. IGN praised LostWinds sound and graphics, calling the presentation "remarkable", and felt the gameplay was fresh and fun with clever puzzles and tight controls. However, they had concerns with the short length of the game, which they claimed could be finished in about three hours, but felt this was offset by the relatively inexpensive price compared to a retail game. Eurogamer also praised the presentation, controls and puzzles, claiming the game to be a "mini-masterpiece", while GamePro gave the game a perfect score, calling it "beautiful and unique".
1UP.com thought the game was "charming, beautiful, and loaded with smart, judicious use of the Wii Remote" while voicing minor concerns with its length, while WiiWare World thought the game was "innovative" but "not be quite as revolutionary in terms of play control as some had hoped", though they stated it was "a step in the right direction" for the platform genre and WiiWare games as a whole. N-Europe praised Frontier's "astounding attention to detail" in LostWinds and its visuals which make it seem like a "living, breathing fairytale". In contrast, GameSpot thought LostWinds was "brimming with potential", but ended up being very disappointed with many aspects of the game, including its short length, and claimed a lack of "energy" and "personality" in the game. Addressing the short length of the game, Frontier founder David Braben believes LostWinds stacks up favorably against some recent, full priced retail games which offer as little as between four and seven hours of gameplay. It was awarded Best Use of the Wii-Mote by IGN in its 2008 video game awards. IGN also nominated it for several other Wii-specific awards, including Best WiiWare Game, Best Artistic Design, and Best Platform Game.
LostWinds is currently being ported to Android and is already available for iOS. Square Enix published the game in Japan on 24 December 2008. The WiiWare version of LostWinds is the only known, non-delisted WiiWare game that is was unavailable for download on Wii U at the system's launch period. This has since been fixed.
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