I’m currently in a nostalgic mode (again) because of the rains. I thought what better game to review for throwback but one that brought a charming and beautiful adventure game with puzzle elements, which rates highly in almost every say. Alluring sceneries, zen-like music and user-friendly controls, it has been a long time that something so cute can engage me this long on a game.
Meet Toku, the helpful boy with a destiny
The game open with a sleeping Toku. You wake him up by swiping him. You guide Toku across the village and caves. He is accompanied by Enril, a wind spirit, who asks Toku’s help to search for Balasar, an evil spirit that is awakening. Enril needs to get his full power to lift Balasar’s curse before it is too late.
With Enril accompanying Toku, Toku gets the ability to generate gusts of wind by using a finger swipe. By swiping across the screen, subtle effects happen in the background that makes this game feel like a zen-discovery app more than an adventure. Plants sway in the breeze, swiping a tree causes it to shake and rustle, swiping a waterfall splashes all around or just plain soar a bit across precipice. With swiping, you can also lift heavy objects (like boulders) when necessary. You can also swipe burning fires to fan or direct the flames.
Toku will need to avoid glorbs which cling to him and depletes one of his four lives. If a life gets depleted, you can swipe some of the vegetation to disturb some blue birds. Tapping enough of these birds restores a life. Or you can pluck some red fruit you find along the way to restore a life.
The adventure can be a quite a juggle
I stated that this game has high marks in almost everything… except when you need to juggle movements with frustrating swiping precision. I haven’t played the Wii version, but many gamers state there is a huge difference in controlling Toku’s move and swipe functions. I can’t attest to any of that but with regards to the mobile version, I had moments where it proved to be a challenge to maneuver Toku’s wind gust abilities and movement at the same time. Sometimes that happens by accident.
There was a scenario when I had to swipe a boulder onto a plank to unlock a nearby door. I encountered glorbs along the way and as I swiped rapidly to remove them out of the way, Toku and the boulder gets affected by my wind gusts. Every little thing that can be affected by the wind gets affected no matter how controlled your swipes are.
If we transmit this scenario to reality, it does make sense. Wind affects anything that stands in its way, but that fact can be such a headache in this game. Thus, the call for precision is necessary. This will take a lot of practice and patience to gain control of. Though I think this can be fixed in some ways to make the controls more intuitive and fun, I believe the added wind challenge can be considered tolerable and applicable for the gameplay.
It’s like exploring in Paradise
Despite the “unforgiving” controls and the paramount frustrations you might feel while playing, the saving grace that makes this game worthwhile is its cinematic and picturesque images. Toku gets a map along the way which shows the spots where the adventure partakes. Though the locations can be confusing to remember because of the maze of cave tunnels, mountain caverns, and multitudes of similar looking cliffs, I forgive this dilemma because it’s like being lost of paradise. I wouldn’t give a damn that I’m lost as long as I see a lot of those beautiful cherry blossoms, vast greenery, and pristine waterfalls.
Emphasize this scenario with a musical accompaniment of wind and stringed instruments, twittering birds, rustling of leaves, etc., everything looks too cinematic to ignore. In fact, I could almost hear a narration in my head of an asian Grandpa telling a wide-eyed grandson of Toku’s adventure… “Many years ago, the Ancients called upon us the Spirits to create this island… Mistralis. A Spirit name Balasar abused this power, and sought to rule over Mistralis itself as a god.”
The game is short and simple, but you will not forget this one because of it’s cinematic and charming value. You will love the adventure, the colors, the gameplay, everything! You must try it!
Lost Winds Developer: Frontier
Lost Winds Support: lostwinds.frontier.co.uk