Release Date: 5/10/2012
Rating: Everyone 10+
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LostWinds was an indie game that took advantage of the Wii’s hardware when most high budget titles didn’t. The second game is now on iOS and gamers will be treated to gorgeous visuals and interesting touch controls. The game’s story is minimal with just some text-based dialog that does little more than explaining the story about a boy Toku trying to save the Melodias from their frozen state of life.
The controls are the main thing I need to talk about here. They should work just fine, but they seem unresponsive and robotic some times. Toku moves really slow on his own so you swipe around to guide him around with gusts of wind. You do this for objects as well to get them where they need to go. The problem is that Toku seems to weigh as much as a semi in the air because he floats for a bit and drops like a rock. Objects can easily be carried around by slipstreams that you draw with your finger, but Toku can’t ride these. You have to constantly swipe him where you want and it doesn’t always work the way you want. He won’t really go anywhere unless you are pushing him in that direction, so turn on the virtual pad and completely bypass the continuous walking controls because they are useless.
There are other powers like creating tornadoes with a double finger swipe so Toku can jump even higher. Seasons can be changed from Summer to Winter so you can get through certain areas. You can drag water and fire around to solve puzzles by growing plants and burning blockades etc. This seems fine and all, but there’s no map so you are constantly lost because there is a ton of backtracking. Some levels have parts that are blocked until you acquire powers later on which is fine, but some areas are so confusing that you will spend too much time just trying to navigate it. At least let us zoom out so we can see the entire area.
It also doesn’t help that using the wind is the only way to move things around. When you are trying to get an object to a high ledge Toku will follow it and block the path sometimes. This gets really frustrating because you can only use the wind a few times before having to land again. The physics in the game just seem really floaty or have too much weight. I could forgive these problems more, but the backtracking is just ridiculous. Having to travel back halfway through the game on foot just gets monotonous and frustrating because the levels are different when you come through them backward. Combat is also annoying because all you do is flick black globs around to destroy them, but these just seem like annoyances more than anything.
Overall, when the puzzle solving in the areas work they are fun and engaging. There’s some tricky platforming involved as well, but there are also a lot of issues that bring the experience down. Being on such a tiny screen probably doesn’t help much, but there are things to fix that the developers didn’t implement. Having an in-area map or being able to zoom all the way out would have helped. Combat isn’t satisfying, and the physics just seem off. With all these issues aside, LostWinds 2 is enjoyable for any platforming fan, but some may not be as forgiving.