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Daily iPad App: LostWinds

I really enjoyed LostWinds when it came out on the Wii a couple of years ago -- it's a physics-based platformer, essentially, but the twist is that you don't just control a really beautifully rendered little kid named Toku wandering around a very artistic world, you also control the wind spirit that can push him and various objects in the environment around. On the Wii, this was accomplished with an on-screen cursor and a swing of the Wii remote, but on the iPad and iPhone, it's accomplished with a swipe across the screen.

As a result, this version seems less tactile and a little less control-intensive, which I'm not convinced is necessarily a negative, just different. On the Wii version, for example, you could move the joystick and press a button to get Toku to jump, and then swipe across the screen at exactly the right time to carry him with a gust. On the iPad, however, you just need to swipe him around (and more often than not, I found myself just pushing him around with the wind rather than just controlling him by tapping on the screen). That might destroy a little bit of the game's atmosphere, but honestly, the atmosphere is strong enough (with a really great artistic palette and some excellent musical backing) that it can handle a little playfulness.

While the game has the same strengths of the Wii title, it also suffers from some of its weaknesses: It's relatively short, and the puzzles aren't really too tough to figure out. Unfortunately (unless they've hidden it really well), Frontier Developments hasn't included the sequel that arrived on the Wii in this release, so presumably it'll come out on iOS later on. Then again, at only $3.99 for a universal version, the game's priced much more reasonably than the $10 it cost me when it came out on the Wii.

LostWinds is a really excellent title, and the game's wind-based physics have been translated quite well to iOS with this one. If you never got to play through it the first time on WiiWare, you probably shouldn't let it breeze by you this time around.

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