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Review: LostWinds by Frontier Developments Ltd

There’s something in the wind for Toku, will you help him release the curse that has been cast upon Mistralis?

The first things that you notice with this game are truly breathtaking graphics and the melodic music that accompany your character on his quest. It’s hard not to become quickly absorbed into the story. Toku is a young boy who finds a stone that holds the spirit of Enril the wind spirit who has been trapped during an attempt to encage a spirit gone bad called Balasar. Balasar has now escaped the stone, scattering both stone and his spirit around Mistralis. It is Toku’s quest to stop Balasar in his tracks and remove the curse upon Mistralis.

As mentioned before, the graphics are eye catching and smooth, making the platform style game easy to pick up and play. The controls are intuitive but a little awkward at times. There are options in the settings to change from one finger touch movement to D-pad movement but I found it a lot easier to use the one finger touch system. I often struggle with D-pad games as there is effectively no tangible D-pad and my finger can often slip on the smooth surface of the touch screen during times of high drama in a game. I presume I am not the only one for whom this is an issue hence the one touch mechanism also being available.

The one touch movement system works well enough but it can sometimes be hard to move Toku around if you need to make him fly high in one direction. The game seems to compensate for this by allowing the wind to push Toku rather than having to physically touch him and move him but on several occasions my inability to fly him high caused some frustrating diversions for the character. For me it was definitely preferable to the difficulties with the virtual D-pad controls.

The puzzles are interesting and fun and the small tutorials on how to use certain objects are handy but often the actions are intuitive. It is still great to have the tutorials to remind you how items function. The puzzles were challenging but not overly taxing so actions were achievable with the right amount of skill rather than being impossibly complicated.

The ability to take screenshots and post them to social networking sites is a nice little touch. It provides a social aspect to the game and helps to share the delights of the game.

The game is very tactile and serene, making attacks by glorbs and other creatures something of a surprise when they occur and can send you into a flurry of activity. Save points are indicated by statues of Melodia so be careful when exiting the game as it will return to the last Melodia statue, not the point that you expect. Being a fan of Gargoyle’s Quest on the Gameboy back in the day, LostWinds had a similar feel and that really helped me to get into the swing of things quickly as I had a sort of nostalgic air about me when playing. The games are very different but my approach to them was the same, I was determined to take my character on his quest and to battle whatever forces we came upon, I really invested in the character and the concept of the game.

Platform and puzzle games are great for drawing you in to the storyline. A showdown with the spirit behind all of the trouble seems inevitable and there is something truly exciting about beginning a quest knowing that you will have to use all of your skills to outwit the enemy.

All in all the game is a joy to play. Admittedly the controls are a little difficult to master but it’s worth persevering to get into the game. There didn’t seem to be an option to turn off the music if you found it distracting but it is often pivotal to hearing the approach of enemies and if it really did bother you, the volume buttons at the side of your device should be adequate in turning it down.

LostWinds is a beautiful and enthralling game and highly recommended.

LostWinds is available in the iTunes Store for £1.49

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