ESRB: E for Everyone
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Released: May 9th 2012
Toku is back with the winds of Enril the Wind Spirit at his back in this sidescrolling platformer built around solving simple physics and element themed puzzles. The graphics are stunning and the storyline is simple and easy to follow yet engaging. I was easily able to lose myself in this simple platformer that kept me coming back for more with its endearing little puzzles that were more about perceiving what needed to be done rather than making tricky jumps where one pixel is the difference between success and failure, though I have to admit I was initially put off.
After a brief preface where I played as a character who was not the protagonist but rather a member of an ancient race whose actions and abilities would lay the groundwork foreshadowing elements of the rest of the game, I found myself in a frozen wasteland wearing nothing but a tunic, suffering from a videogame mechanic that, while atmospherically apropos, I have always found incredibly frustrating, that mechanic being the concept of constantly dying when certain intermittent conditions are not met. This is usually seen on the universally aggravating water stage of every classic game, but is usually reserved for somewhere in the middle of the game when you have already been sucked in by enjoyable parts of the games and are just trying to get back to those, and even then you always know how to get the air you so desperately need, just swim up.
This game, however, chooses to pit you against the elements, rewarding early game exploration with a mechanic of constantly freezing to death trying to find the right direction so you can hide under the warm glow of the next torch so you may begin to refill your “snow flake” bar. This misery must only be endured briefly before you are granted an outfit more suited to the season, but it still bothered me, not only because it was aggravating to have that element to begin with, but also because the snowflake bar was so short. Normally it’s more of a formality, but this was genuinely unforgiving and killed me a number of times while I was trying to get a sense for the layout of the map. While this snowflake bar never gets an encore Lost Winds 2 keeps it in my memory with pools of water that threaten to drown me while I explore them scattered throughout the game, though never so deep that I put myself at risk.
While it may not sound that I like it after that little rant I do admit I deeply enjoyed this game, following the plot with its ups and downs, getting that feeling of satisfaction when I see what I’m supposed to do, square peg goes in square hole etc, but its the beautiful graphics and sound that really sell this game, making it not at all hard for me to play for hours, though I’ll admit once I did so I beat it in one long sitting, though that’s to be expected from an iOS game with a story arc rather than just an infinitely repeatable minigame.
I’d also like to note though that I was not fond of the movement controls being based around swiping and touching the edges and was relieved to find a I could change them to an on-screen d-pad, and controlling my powers took a bit of getting used to, early on it would take me a few pinches or drags before I would achieve the desire result, but it got easier with practice. The non-linear nature of the game, combined with the fact only a very rudimentary map was made available, made the obligatory back tracking a bit more challenging and I would have to consult the map frequently but fortunately it was just informative enough not to frustrate me, and only invoked mild irritation, and unlike with the some games the back tracking was fully justified by the plot and was not done frivolously to pad the amount of play time the game provided. Not to mention the same old areas became fresh as changing the seasons would completely alter how they functioned.
Despite my complaints I was very fond of the game and because of it I will be giving the first game another go, despite having given up on it previously just because I despised the swiping and edge touching movement system.
- Stunning Graphics
- Simple yet immersive story
- Strong puzzles which establish familiarity with the tools at your disposal without ever becoming repetitive
- beautiful soundtrack
- Frustrating early game freezing mechanic which punishes exploration
- Lackluster map system
9 out of 10
Article from Gamersyndrome.com