Lost Winds

As one of the first titles for the Nintendo Wii’s new downloadable game service, "Lost Winds" is the story of the spirit of the wind named Enril and her fight against one of her evil, older brothers. As spirits in video games tend to do, Enril enlists the aid of a small and fearless-bordering-on-suicidal boy who, in this case, is named Toku.

Now, while the story may sound slightly contrived, that’s okay because the atmosphere and controls of "Lost Winds" are so engaging that you just won’t care.

Toku and Enril are guided with the nunchuk and Wii remote, respectively. Toku moves by way of the analog stick and Enril is controlled with the Wii remote’s infrared pointer.
On his own, Toku is pretty worthless. He can’t run fast or attack enemies, and he only jumps when walking off the edge of a cliff.

But therein lies the genius of "Lost Winds." Using the Wii remote’s pointer capabilities, players must use Enril’s powers as the spirit of the wind to help Toku along.

This is accomplished by drawing paths on the screen for the wind to follow. If you use it correctly, the wind can give Toku a mid-air boost, stoke smoldering coals into flame, or fling boulders at your enemies. This feels natural and intuitive — not to mention really fun — almost immediately.

The atmosphere is similarly well-designed because it’s so … well, fine I’ll just say it — cozy. The art style avoids loud colors and harsh angles, providing soft curves and cool greens, browns, pinks and blues instead. In the course of your journey, you’ll visit grassy meadows, quiet villages, musty caves and a peaceful waterfall.

The accompanying music suits the game perfectly, and is almost lulling in its tranquility. It actually feels like what a nice spring day should feel like, you know, if you also happened to be saving the world from an evil spirit.

The game has its share of flaws but nothing serious, and for $10 it’s hard to complain. There are $50 games out there that aren’t nearly as fun or engaging. If you’re a Wii player, you owe it to yourself to get "Lost Winds".

"Lost Winds" was created by Frontier and released May 12 on Wii Ware, located within the Wii Shop Channel.

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