System: Wii Exclusive (WiiWare)
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
The first LostWinds is widely considered one of, if not the absolute best games the WiiWare has to offer. Featuring gorgeous visuals, creative controls, and an absolutely fresh premise, no one could argue that LostWinds was anything short of spectacular (besides those douchebags at GameSpot, that is). The sequel, dubbed Winter of the Melodias, takes everything that made the first adventure such a smashing success and somehow manages to add to it.
Winter of the Melodias follows returning heroes Toku and Enril the Wind Spirit. This time, however, you’ll see parts of Mistralis that you wouldn’t even have dreamed of existing based on your romp through the first game. Embarking on an adventure to rescue your mother, who makes it apparent where your adventuring genes came from, you must travel to the highest peaks of the surrounding snow-covered mountains. After stumbling upon a small village called Summerfalls and getting some help from a stranger named Smith, you are able to guide Toku to his mother and reunite them at last. This is where things really take off.
Anyone who trekked through the highly acclaimed original game will feel right at home with the sequel’s controls. The developers did include a very brief tutorial of sorts within the first 10 minutes of the game to help acquaint newcomers with the brilliant control scheme, and it is a nice little refresher for the vets who fell out of Mistralis after the first adventure.
Along the way, however, you’re going to discover several brand new game-altering techniques including the ability to use wind to form cyclones, being able to freeze enemies, and the ability to switch between Summer and Winter seasons. Of course the majority of your abilities from the first game carry over, such as creating vortexes with wind drawing trails upon which fire will travel. The most welcome addition, however, is the inclusion of a map, which will save you from a lot of random, aimless searching when you aren’t sure where to go next.
LostWinds was breathtakingly gorgeous, easily the best looking game offered through WiiWare and even trouncing some full-retail disc releases. Believe it or not, Frontier managed to make this highly anticipated sequel look even more stunning. Part of this beauty can be attributed to the whimsical Winter theme the game presents, but the game also looks gorgeous in the inverse season. It’s truly amazing how much detail the team has managed to squeeze into the game while still remaining within the constraints of Nintendo’s lame size restriction, but they are able to do it and still put some $50 games to shame.
Going hand-in-hand with the game’s gorgeous visuals is an equally impressive sound design. Though voice acting may be completely void of existence, which is totally acceptable given the 50MB restriction Nintendo forces onto WiiWare devs, the sound effects and soundtrack both more than make up for that. The team obviously put a lot of effort into creating an audio experience that would suck players into the game even further with accurate effects on top of a moody and ambient score that is simply beautifully composed and wonderfully fitting with LostWinds’ overall style.
The only real complaint I can make on Winter of the Melodias is the fact that it only takes about four hours to complete. Even then, though, the game is much bigger than the original, and the included map, which prevents you from aimlessly wandering around in search of your next goal, is what really cuts off some play time. And at only 10 bucks, it is hard to complain too much about the game’s length.
LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias is nothing short of amazing. Everything from the ingenious controls to the beautiful visuals just shine leagues above just about anything else offered through the WiiWare service. The game also improves upon its predecessor in just about every possible aspect. LostWinds 2 is more than deserving of your $10 and your play time. Highly recommended.
- Outstanding sound design
- Brilliant controls
- Engaging puzzles
- Makes numerous improvements upon its predecessor
- At only four hours the fun is short-lived
Score: 9.0/10 (Outstanding)