wiiware, lostwinds

Yes, I’ve been playing GTA IV, just like everyone else. I also managed to get about 10 hours in to Oblivion before GTA IV took hold, but I haven’t written about that either. Instead, today’s topic is WiiWare, which was launched in Europe (and Australia) today.

I’ll start with the bad points, because there’s a few of them. The main problem is that the shopping experience is largely identical to buying Virtual Console titles: it takes at least a minute to open the Shopping Channel, you need to re-enter your credit card details every time you buy points, and instead of being able to do anything useful while you’re downloading a title, or even getting a decent progress bar, you get an annoying Mario animation instead. The launch titles are largely a snore-fest as well, with the highlights including Squeenix’s microtransaction mouthful Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, and yet another re-hash of Dr. Mario from the Big N.

The gem in the lineup is LostWinds, a game that’s everything a WiiWare title should be: cheap, charming, compact, and just a little different. It’s a 2D platformer with beautifully designed 3D graphics, and a combination of traditional controls on the analogue stick and gestures on the Wiimote to control the wind, which you use to manipulate your character and the environment. The gestures can be a touch fiddly at times, and it’s apparently only about three hours long, but for $15 it makes a lovely change of pace from GTA IV.