LostWinds for the Nintendo Wii was one of the first indie games we ever played back in the autumn of 2008. Frontier Developments created the game quite lovingly, instilling a sense of Eastern mysticism throughout the artistic style and the gloriously chilled out music.
It has one of the best uses of the Wii’s gesture-based control system and features one of the most beautiful openings to any game we can remember. It launches with the protagonist Toku fast asleep in a forest. With the Wii remote, the player can shake trees to make leaves drop from them, and then wake up the hero by gusting him about. We remember thinking how lovely this was upon first playing it in 2008, and it’s still a glorious little touch.
It’s ingenious stuff and utilises the ever brilliant Metroidvania (games merging gameplay mechanics from Nintendo’s seminal Metroid series, and Konami’s legendary Castlevania games) genre to great effect. Titles such as SteamWorld Dig and Teslagrad have, admittedly, since bettered this, but Frontier Development were innovators here.
Toku must traverse his environment and gain power-ups, the central one being a wind spirit called Enril. Using her, you can gust Toku about the place, although if you’re thinking this would be a great time for some scatological humour you’re wrong. It’s just too gosh darned lovely for that.
We remember, upon release, complaints that LostWinds was “too easy” and “too short”. This is entirely missing the point of indie games, which tend to be beautifully crafted, short experiences for adults with an intellectual capacity beyond mere shooty-boom-boom-kill FPSs which, unfortunately, dominate the charts.
With LostWinds you simply kick back, enjoy the Eastern charm, and solve the simple puzzles and delight in the results. And firing little Toku up into the air with the Wii remote is totally bodacious, dude.
Availability & Sequel
Calm the hell down, will you? The good news is Frontier Developments made a sequel, and you can pick these up easily if you have a Nintendo Wii (or Wii U).
In amongst the mass of CoD and GTA murderous blockbusters, little gems like this are often left forgotten. Professional Moron remembers, though, and it’s titles like this which reminds one of how magical video games can be.
The great news is (which you’ll already know if you’ve watched the trailer above) LostWinds can be found on iOS, so there’s no bloody excuse to plead ignorance. Download it, plug your earphones in, and enjoy a charming little SOB of a game.