Despite being one of the first games available for WiiWare when it launched in 2008, the original LostWindsremains a showcase title for Nintendo’s service. So it’s no surprise, particularly with the `To be continued…` style ending of the first, that Frontier Games have now released the sequel.
Subtitled Winter of the Melodias, this time little Toku must go in search of his mother who has mysteriously disappeared. Once again aided by Enril, the wind elemental he befriended in the first title, Toku sets out to find out why she’s gone missing. The player must use a combination of the nunchuck to move Toku around and the Wii Remote to interact with him via Enril. This involves the same control methods, including upward motions of the Remote to use the wind so Toku can jump higher and creating Vortex’s to help move heavy objects. While playing the first game isn’t a necessity, during the initial sections of Winter of the Melodias there seems to be a heavy presumption that the player has at least a basic knowledge of the controls from the previous game. While there are small tutorial screens, their brevity and the inability to repeat the instructions, could stump those unfamiliar with the original. That said, it’s the perfect excuse for someone to go back and try the first game, if they haven’t already.
This time the weather plays a key part in expanding the puzzles. During their adventure Toku and Enril reach the village of Summerfalls, a deceptive name for somewhere that’s stuck in perpetual winter. This colder climate mean the introduction of newer puzzles which keep it feeling sufficiently different – an early example is that the player must keep Toku near lit torches to avoid him freezing to death. Frontier are to be commended for their pacing with this mechanic, and they avoid letting it run on so it becomes a thorn in the players side (as so often happens). This concept is extended to other puzzles, which never feel over done, including generating rain clouds to dampen flaming foes or whipping up snow balls out of the air to splat down onto pressure plates and keep them weighed down.
The reason for the non-titular snowy deluge in Summerfalls is eventually explained, with Toku being given the ability to shift between the seasons. Again this expands the mechanics even further, but at no point will the content of Winter of the Melodias tax the player to frustration nor will the puzzles completely baffle you. It’s the cornerstone on which LostWinds seems to have built its gameplay – that everything fits in with the games relaxed style, making it an enjoyable and easy going adventure.
Whilst being only slightly longer than the first game, Winter of the Melodias can still be completed in just a few hours, although it’s brevity is probably all the more apparent because the player will become so engrossed in it. This is in no small part due to its charming appearance, something which hasn’t diminished in any way since the original. The games still retains the charming bright settings, delightful characters and haunting beauty of the music from the first.
With this second LostWinds title, Frontier have not only shown again that WiiWare has the ability to play host to titles comparable in quality to the larger titles on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, but that they also have lots of ideas left for the franchise.
While WiiWare is plagued by titles that either feel mediocre or (being blunt) little more than shovelware, Winter of the Melodias provides all the reason you need to fire up WiiWare and enjoy a charming and well crafted romp.