The first LostWinds won the Best Platformer of the year award at TouchGen, and Nigel loved it to bits in his review back in late 2011.
With that kind of response any sequel will have a hard time living up to the expectations. And in the case of LostWinds2 it surpasses the quality of the original title. It does what Terminator 2 did to Terminator, and what Metallicas Black Album did to all their prior catalogue. Quite simply LostWinds2 is awesome.
There is no point in changing too much when you have a winning formula, and Frontier Developments have put their efforts on a solid story and continued platforming goodness. The original LostWinds had been updated to include both a D-pad option for controls, and retina resolution for the New iPad. Both of these features come with the sequel straight out of the box.
The controls are either swipe, and touch only somewhat inspired by the WiiWare version of LostWinds. I prefer the combination of a D-pad in the lower left corner for movements, and swipes/touches for interacting with the environment. It is really cool controlling the elements, and creating snowballs or swiping fire through the air. The puzzles found in LostWinds2 are never too hard, but still feel challenging enough to provide a sense of reward when completed. In the early parts of the game the focus is on not freezing to death, but as the challenge increase so does the number of foes out to kill Toku.
As Toku progress he learns new tricks, and with these he can go back to explore previously blocked paths. This gives the game that Metroid kind of progression that gets addictive. Just a bit more, just to find how to blow up this or that.
The lush environments are back, and there is always some kind of movement breathing life to the world. There is so much emotional content transferred onto me the player, and at times it reaches Journey proportions. When I forget about the cold for a moment to solve a puzzle, or travel upward just to see Toku freeze to death brings deep sorrow. On the other hand the freedom when swooping through the air brings a sense of wonder, and relaxation. It is a feat not seen that often in video games, and even less frequently on the App Store. LostWinds2 manages to move me.
All aspects of the presentation are polished, and represent the best found for iOS. The animations of Toku, and all characters are realistic and flow effortlessly. The story is told by means of texts, and I would have liked something a tad more polished. Still it manages to intrigue me, and the story is evolving at a moderate pace. Finding the mother of Toku is at the centre of it all, but it involves a wicked evil and a wicked plot.
I usually prefer listening to my own music when playing games, but this is not the case with LostWinds2. The ambient soundtrack ranging from tribal to Asian classical to more modern vibes feels fresh, and accompanies the action perfectly.
LostWinds2: Winter of Melodias is a huge game that expands the more you play. With Game Center integration for achievements you also get positive feedback, as you explore the world. It is still early to talk about the best of 2012, but I won’t be surprised if this game is featured on a lot of lists as candidate for game of the year.
LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias $3.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Frontier Developments Limited