Honestly. With a name like that, you're just asking for trouble. Once we clapped sight of the words "Lost" and "Winds", we went scurrying to our well-thumbed copy of Roger Mellie's Profanisaurus (5th edition) to see if it did indeed have a double meaning. Alas, no dice. Instead, we'll have to take LostWinds at surface value; a charming platform adventure built around a dashedly smart concept.
How does it play?
The premise is that an "elemental wind spirit" called Enril must guide and protect a small kid called Toku on a very important quest. They're both striving to lift a wretched curse that's been placed upon the mountain realm of Mistralis and its inhabitants. And it has absolutely nothing to do with backdoor breezes.
In keeping with his job title, Enril's power is to generate gusts of wind and slipstreams (stop giggling in the back). Toku, for example, isn't capable of anything more complicated than walking or pulling a lever. Therefore, Enril can send him floating across difficult terrain on an updraft of air. Elsewhere, these same powers can be used to attack enemies, lift objects, and channel water and fire in precise directions.
The touchscreen interface is fully gesture-based, but somewhat tricky because you're essentially doing two things at once; controlling Toku and controlling the elemental wind spirit. This divides your concentration somewhat, but fortunately the game isn't very fast-paced. As you roam through the scenery of Mistralis, you'll find the balance between combat, exploration and puzzle solving to be very subtle.
Why do we like it?
LostWinds is a very pretty game. It's filled with lush colours of green and pink and blue, and at looks fuzzy and indistinct, as though vaseline has been smeared over the screen. The incidental details are fine also; the winds you generate constantly interact with the scenery, such that blossom will be shaken from a tree, or a windmill in the background will start turning.
But it's the design that counts. The game originally appeared on the Nintendo Wii as a WiiWare title, and garnered many plaudits because of its clever control scheme and knowing tribute to classic games like Metroid and Legend of Zelda. It's great to see it ported over to a larger audience on the App Store, where it survives the transition relatively intact. Could definitely do with more fart jokes, though.
LostWinds is available now on the App Store, Universal (£2.49)