27 August 2012

Lost Winds iPhone Game Review


How to Procrastinate Writing Your Master’s Thesis

I consider story a big part of the game’s artfulness. This story is minimal, mostly because the game is rather short. But at least the story’s there—unlike the hoards of shallow mobile games out there. The plot, in fact, reminds me of a Zelda game—a simple but fun quest story where you, a boy named Toku, follow a map searching for artifacts. Toku is an apprentice who has lost his voice but is trying to save the land (from an evil god) using the power of the winds—which you get to control more and more throughout the game.

The visual art is impressive too. It’s built on a 2.5D environment—a side-scroller (2D) in a 3D world. It’s cool how you can call down the wind to interact with characters in the 3D background too. Overall, the visuals are beautiful—in fact, that’s what called my attention to this game to begin with.

The emulated D-pad works great for steering the character, which you do with the left hand. (In fact, I’m starting to think we may not need physical keys for mobile gaming after all. They would be nice, but I do like the minimalism of not having them.) You control the wind by swiping a right-hand finger across the screen. This is sometimes a little difficult on such a small screen—it’s hard to move in the right patterns; also, swiping blocks your view. But it’s not a deal breaker, and I kind of liked the atypical controls—pointing directly at parts of the screen (this is one thing that’s really cool about Wii titles like Mario Galaxy too).

The physics engine is great—you can use the wind to lift Toku into the air or to move pieces of the world around you—that’s how you fight baddies as well, though the combat is fairly simple. Puzzles are a large part of the game, where you have to dig up and replant seeds or wind-blow boulders to get through certain passageways, and it’s rewarding when you figure them out. Flying on the wind, by the way, is pretty sweet.

The hours of gameplay are a little short. But Lost Winds is a real game with a real story, and one I think you’d enjoy. There’s a sequel too (Lost Winds: Winter of the Melodias), which I haven’t played yet, but it seems to build on the story, and together they would make an awesome experience.

Looking for more mobile gaming action? Read my review of of Fancy Pants for iOS

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— J