Can't Quite Live Up To The Original
LostWinds: Winter of Melodias (from here on referred to as LW:WoW) is a sequel to the first LostWinds game released on the Wii, through WiiWare, one year prior. The game takes the gameplay that made the first game so fun and attempts to add to it. Unfortunately, the end result is a game that is not only not as engaging as the first and that actually controls worse.
The first game was a take on the Super Metroid style of platforming-adventure gameplay. The entire world was open to the player at the start of the game but certain areas would be blocked off until specific items were found. Players would control the protagonist, Toku, with the nunchuck and control the powers of the wind god Enril with the Wii remote. The controls were unique and fun but lacked precision. Luckily, that game didn't require much precision. The end result was a fun, exploration-based platformer.
LW:WoW takes that same gameplay style and control scheme but adds quite a bit to it. Not only are there new wind powers and items presented to the player but a power that allows the player to change the seasons from winter to spring. The season changing power adds a number of unique puzzles that add to the complexity of this game. Unfortunately, this new push toward complexity comes with a stronger emphasis on precision. The game's controls have a hard time meeting that new demand. The controls are great for exaggerated movements. Using wind to fight enemies is simple and fun. But trying to move Toku around the game's environment poses a few issues. Trying to land items in the game's environment on to small platforms and switches is harder then it should be. The biggest problem with the controls of LW:WoW is that, since the first game, the developers have tightened up the Wii remote's sensitivity to movement as is represented on-screen. I found controlling the on-screen reticule harder then it needed to be due to overly finicky controls. Add to this the last mission which is essentially an escort mission and you have a game that can be very frustrating.
The presentation has taken a step forward in some areas and a step back in others. The game clearly looks better then the first. The environments are more detailed, the textures are more detailed, and the colors are more vibrant. The game, overall, just looks sharper then the original. But, the game also suffers from much more prominent frame rate issues that occur much more often then they did before. The music is really well done. The music will change depending on the seasons which is really nice touch. No matter the season, or whether the player is in fight, the music is very nice to listen to. The sound effects are also very well done as is the surround sound.
LW:WoW tried to add to the first game's mechanics and, unfortunately, came up short. Frontier games should be applauded for trying to add to a winning formula and, at times, the additions were very fun to use. Changing the seasons was a neat idea and well implemented. Most of the added wind powers are a lot of fun to use and add a unique twist to the older gameplay. Unfortunately, the changes to the game's primary mechanics as controlled by the Wii remotes take away from the experience. The Wii remote is overly finicky and make using the wind powers, whether for precise or gross movements, harder then it should be. Add to this the fact that many of the missions, most notably the last mission, can be tedious and you get a game that doesn't quite live up to its potential. I'm happy I played LW:WoW but I just wish it were a better game.