This is how you make a sequel.

User Rating: 8.5 | LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias WII
As a Wiiware launch title the first Lost Winds showed a lot of potential and indie developer Frontier put a lot more time and effort into a small Wiiware download than most big third party devs put into full disc Wii games though many felt there was a lot of untapped potential.

Thankfully the first Lost Winds did well enough to warrant its sequel and this is how you make a sequel you improve upon all the elements of the original without compromising the core gameplay. Winter of the Melodias takes everything from the first game and cranks it up to eleven.

Leaving off where the first game left off, you actually start out not playing as Toku in the prolouge rather you get a sort of short flashback to an ancient race called The Melodias and learn of something that occured many years ago. Then cutting back to our heroes, Toku and Enril now make their way up to the mountains in hopes of finding Toku's mother who went missing as well as prevent the ressurection of Balazaar. There's clearly more effort to make the story more in depth and has a rather surprising ending when you defeat the final boss.

One great thing about this, is unlike other sequels, you don't have to relearn the moves from the first game. Your gust, slipstream and vortex abilities are all still in tact. How many games can you think of where you didn't have to relearn moves learned in a previous game? Toku does lose his parachute cape at the start only to get it back later in the game oddly enough.

Level design is vastly improved and much more intuitive from the first game. The first level has Magarock (the boss of the first game) guiding you up to the mountain using him to climb on to reach the top. You now find yourself in snowy mountain villages. After a touching reunion with your mother, you're given a Yeti costume to help protect you from the snow which is AWESOME! Screw Mario's penguin suit, Toku's yeti suit is where it's at. Along with your winter gear the biggest new addition is Toku gaining the ability to change the seasons. Once you meet Sonte, a bear who is a spirit of nature you can switch between summer and winter which adds new depth and complexity to the puzzles presented. Along with the weather changing, Toku learns to use Enril to make snowballs, create cyclones that can turn water into rainclouds or drill through solid rock and all these are implemented extremely well and you truly feel a sense of achievement when you solve a puzzle.

There's also a vast improvement in the presentation. The game still boasts it's colorful stylized settings and it's truly a site to behold when you see the transistion of the area from winter to spring. There's a lot more variety in the music that changes depending on the season and the area as well as more variety in the enemies. Those annoying blorbs are back to get in the now with fire and ice versions as well as larger, steroid injected versions that vomit goo on you.

The game isn't without it's faults. While the controls are tighter, there's still times it can get frustrating getting your wind commands to register and Toku takes way too long to hoist himself on a ledge and the last leg of the game has you escorting someone (I won't spoil who) towards the end which drags on a bit and the final boss fight is bad about telling you what to do and there's a short bit where you have to do some fetch quests in a village which almost grind the game to a halt and there is a lot of backtracking to do. If there's one thing I'd like in LostWinds 3, is the ability to warp between the save points.

Overall though if you can overlook some of the minor annoyances, the game is easily worth 10 dollars. It's a bit longer than it's predecessor and it's clear that Frontier had more money and time to improve this title but it's a solid game and a good example of how to make a sequel.