As always, there are a few grumbles to be had. A couple of the puzzles may have you scratching your head until you realise the solution isn’t particularly sensible (who would have thought that fruit could be so tough?) Save points are generously scattered, but there was maybe one occasion where I wished Frontier had put one halfway through a tricky section, not right at the end.
LostWinds is not a combat-heavy game, but a few of the enemy creatures are annoyingly tricky to dispatch, and the end-of-game boss battle feels a little conventional after all the good stuff that has come before. All pretty minor stuff, and not something that will seriously affect your enjoyment.
In fact, the only other reason I’m not giving this a 9 or 10 is that it is a short game and it does feel a little small scale. The one continuous play area is fairly small when you look at it, and while it does take in forests, waterfalls, caves, mines and villages both populated and abandoned, there’s a little less variety than you’d get in a full-priced platform game.
What’s more, you’ll probably crack it within four or five hours. Set against this, it is a very cheap game and clearly intended as the first episode in a longer saga. Plus, it’s a refreshing change not to have to go through the usual ice level, fire level, desert level stuff – you just get one world, and it’s a beautiful and consistent one the whole way through.
To my mind, this isn’t just the best game on WiiWare – it’s one of the best games on the Wii, and one of a handful of games I’ve played this year that I’ll still have fond memories of when I reach December. If Frontier can maintain this quality and find new ideas for the next instalment, we could be in for something truly special. For now, I’ll just be thankful that there is still this much magic in the gaming world, and that someone has managed to turn it into code.
While clearly influenced by the likes of Zelda, Ico and Okami, LostWinds is one of the most quirky and ingenious games we’ve seen in ages. The fact that it’s a £7 download only makes it more miraculous.