I don’t recall the exact circumstances of LostWinds (no space) coming to be on my iPad, though there may have been some sort of Starbucks Free App of the Week promotion involved.
In any case, I’m only annoyed I didn’t get to it sooner, as LostWinds is one of the finest touchscreen games I’ve had the pleasure of playing.
LostWinds is a platformer slash puzzler brought to us by Frontier Developments, a studio founded by David Braben of Elite/Frontier fame, though we’re a million miles away from open-ended space trading here.
In Lost Winds, we’re tasked with guiding our young protagonist, Toku, as he looks to lift a curse placed on the world of Mistralis by an evil spirit.
Toku is joined by Enril the wind spirit (he’s a good one, don’t worry), and as such you have lots of wind-based powers at your disposal (<insert fart joke>).
Instead of adopting virtual buttons, LostWinds opts for a mostly swipe- and tap-based control system. Controlling Toku is simply a case of tapping where you want to go, and you can long press if you want to keep running. Easy.
As for Enril the wind spirit, he responds to swipes, which allow you to – among other things – move objects, hurl baddies into the ground, and – crucially – help Toku reach higher areas.
The action takes place across one large playing area, and there’s an almost Metroidvania feel; the more powers you unlock, the more areas you can reach. When you hit a dead end, you’ll immediately realise it’s somewhere you’ll come back to later.
And that, dear dudes, is LostWinds. It’s pretty great for the most part.
My only criticism pertains to the control system, which is – again – mostly great. However, there are times when it can be incredibly frustrating. For example, you might find yourself moving Toku and a giant rock with a single swipe, when really you only want to move the rock.
Indeed, there’s one rock-based puzzle near the end that almost had me screaming. I was playing on the iPad, and can only imagine how irksome it might be on the smaller-screened iPhone.
But otherwise, LostWinds is excellent. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel, as the first instalment ends – slight spoiler alert – “To be continued…”
- Looks great
- Interesting tap/swipe Toku/Enril mechanics
- The boss fight at the end
- Occasionally frustrating controls
Summary: LostWinds is an excellent platform/puzzle game, and probably the closest I’ve seen to Nintendo-esque genius on the App Store.
Developer: Frontier Developments
Price: £2.49 @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.