Review Update: 1/26/12, Version 1.0.1
Within a month of its initial release, LostWinds has gained an update that sets to fix any potential control issues that some players may have suffered.
Before the update, controlling Toku did take some effort with a gesture driven interface that was neat when it worked but didn't feel quite as intuitive as it could have. This has now been rectified with the optional addition of a virtual D-Pad control system which sits subtly in either corner of the screen if the player so wishes. It works well and is ideal for those after a more traditional control scheme.
More advantageous is the inclusion of 'Gust-Time' a slow motion sequence reminiscent of bullet time from other titles, that kicks in at the top of a gust making it easier for players to line up another gust and thus be propelled in a simpler manner.
They're mostly subtle changes but ideal for those who struggled to get to grips with the original form of control. For everyone else: choice is always good and extra ways of controlling this great game have to be good.
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Originally on the Nintendo Wii, LostWinds ably demonstrated the capability of WiiWare games offering innovation and creativity all in one small yet enjoyable package. On a home console, its main flaw was that of its length - weighing in at only a few hours long - but on the iPhone, it suits the nature of the device perfectly.
LostWinds is all about controlling the power of wind as players take the role of Toku, a villager who must save the island of Mistralis from evil. There's no Wii remote this time, of course. Instead controls are all via touching and gesture driven movements. All the action is akin to a regular 2D platformer but it's these controls that make all the difference. Alongside the attractive and luscious graphics, LostWinds immediately feels intriguing.
Toku can only really walk around without the aid of wind power. The introduction of a method to make him constantly walk saves some unneeded touches of the screen which is a useful touch. Controlling the wind comes down to a mixture of swiping and gestures. A swipe upwards helps propel Toku through the air, rather than a conventional jumping method. This leads to double jumps and slipstreaming as the game develops. Such swipes and gestures are also needed for interacting with the landscape with the need to control flames and water with such movements. Throughout, the puzzles are logical and excellently presented.
Unlike the Wii version, controls don't feel quite as fluid and intuitive as with the Nunchuk and Wii Remote but it's still a fine conversion to a touch screen device.
Overall, LostWinds is a very worthy purchase. It was relatively expensive for its length on the Wii but on the App Store, it fits in nicely. There may be limited replayability once completed, except for those desperate to collect all the Melodia Idols around the game, however the general ambience is warm and enjoyable. It's backed up by some neat wind based mechanics. LostWinds is a fine way to spend some time.