Among the initial WiiWare launch titles, only two stood out as potentially amazing games. One of those titles happened to be the latest game from Frontier Developments, LostWinds. Thankfully, those who put their faith in LostWinds were rewarded with a short, albeit fun, experience.
LostWinds centers around a young boy named Toku, a cute little fellow who is sleeping at the start screen before we wake him up. On his way back to his village, he stumbles upon a fragment of an artifact containing the wind elemental Enril. Turns out he was trapped in there with the very evil and vengeful Balasar, who just managed to break out into the world once more. And so, it becomes Toku's quest to regain all the broken fragments to help Enril regain his power. That's the only way the two can save Toku's people and the rest of the world from certain doom.
From the outset, you can tell that LostWinds uses the Wii's graphical power well. The art style is refreshing and pretty beautiful for a digitally distributed game, and the in-game sounds and soundtrack are nothing to complain about, especially when you look at the bevy of shovelware and poorly-produced games out there for the Wii. Toku and his world feel a bit cartoonish, perhaps, but they also feel like they're real.
LostWinds shines in the control area, making great use of the Wii remote. While controlling Toku with the nunchuk, players use the Wii remote's IR sensor and the A button to draw paths on screen. These paths turn into gusts of wind, very reminiscent of Okami and its paintbrush-based controls. It's the way that Frontier has implemented these controls that makes them even more useful than the ones in Okami, doing everything from giving Toku a boost in his jump to slowing his descent, defeating bad guys, and helping him solve puzzles.