LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias • Page 2

Time of the seasons.

It's still a small set of tools, then, but they're fiercely versatile, everything you're presented with capable of a range of different uses, and while there are one or two sticking points during the adventure, there are few puzzles that can't be solved with a few minutes' pleasant mucking about. Toku's wind powers also lead to some enjoyably vicious knockabout fights with a new gaggle of enemies, including a nasty variety of mutated earwig, a fiery twist on an old baddie, and the new giant Glorb, whose aggressive wobbling attacks are both terrifying and hilarious to watch.

It's a tightly designed adventure, in other words, and although I'm not willing to mention Winter of the Melodias and its season-switching intricacies in same breath as Link to the Past, Frontier's game certainly makes a decent My First Metroid, bringing the environment and Toku's powers together in a series of clever set-pieces while the map grows ever busier as his agility increases. Meanwhile, the game's ancient ruins and empty caverns ensure that Winter of the Melodias hasn't just captured the geographical elegance of Samus Aran's adventures, but a little of their loneliness too.

And their beauty: from the luminous blue ice caves of winter, to the thick-aired, almost swampy greens of summer, and the stately golden ruins and nasty industrial sewers of the Melodia City, Winter of the Melodias presents a far more varied world, and a far more involving journey through it. Kicking off with the last game's reformed villain Magmok giving Toku a boost up through mountain ranges, and filled with simple touches like the regular discovery of pages from Magdi's diary, meaning the backstory unspools as the plot progresses, the narrative is every bit as considered as the artwork, resulting in an elegant and rather creepy story that zips towards a poignant conclusion.

LostWinds has always been creative: instead of giving you a simple key for a door, the team allows you to mess around with a musical football instead.

A few irritations remain, of course. Looking after Toku while gusting objects around is still a little fiddly at moments, and, despite the map, there may be a few occasions where you may doubt whether you're on the right path (even though you generally will be). On top of that there are two awkward spells of brief backtracking towards the end of the journey, justified somewhat by the transformative powers of the new toys you've just been given.

Overall, however, these are small prices to pay for something that's otherwise so carefully constructed. The 100th WiiWare title in the UK, Winter of the Melodias is one of its best, too. A few hours longer than the first game, if that's the kind of detail you're interested in, Frontier's sequel is also a lot more complex and dynamic, and yet it's managed to retain the same unforced charm. With its cherry blossom, spindly shrines and gentle characters, the original LostWinds always seemed worryingly delicate in its prettiness: this instalment proves that the series is robust enough to withstand a real adventure.

9 /10

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About the author

Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.


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