LostWinds is a simple, startlingly effective 2D platformer that never fails to engage over the course of its short, but highly memorable, playtime.
You basically control two characters in LostWinds, the main character Toku, and the wind spirit who is at the crux of the gameplay mechanics. The nunchuck controls Toku's movement and interactions, and the wiimote controls the wind. The wind affects gameplay in various ways: with a wave of the wiimote you can help Toku jump to higher platforms, or to draw "wind lines" that divert flames to solve puzzles or burn down gates to locked areas. As you go along, you unlock more and more wind-based abilities.
The controls are simple but then simplicity is at the heart of this game. Puzzles never approach the difficulty level of later Zack and Wikki puzzles, but they aren't a complete pushover either. Simply put: you will come across a shrine or puzzle, and a few waves of the wiimote later be on your merry way saving the kingdom. But this lack of any horrendously difficult puzzles doesn't detract or dissapoint as much as it probably should, however, because the production values are so superb.
The graphics in this game easily outshine many other disc based wii games, which says a lot about Frontier Developments and, for that matter, all the third rate publishers of rushed junk wii seems to attract (Popcorn, I'm looking at you...). The backgrounds are so well designed I found myself on several occasions wanting to go into the houses and scale the cliffs and waterfalls in the backdrop. It would be great if the developers opened up these spaces in the sequels that I'm sure are coming. The music, too, is similarly top notch: simple (a theme that runs through this game) and atmospheric, if a little repetitive.
The only downside is that it's all over too quickly. I am halfway through my second go now, as I love this game so much, but once you have finished the game in 4 or 5 hours, and collected everything (there are a few things out of the way, but nothing too challenging to find) there is very little replay value. Even factoring in the bargain price, LostWinds would have benefitted greatly if it were a bit longer.
To sum up, LostWinds is an absolutely top notch 2D platformer. The design is so beautiful and enchanting, and the gameplay mechanics so fresh that the minor drawbacks of the game are forgiveable. A must own game and a very promising start to wiiware. Bring on number 2!