LostWinds: Episode 1?

May 26th, 2008

Two weeks ago, Nintendo finally unveiled their WiiWare download service, wherein developers can distribute small games through the Shop Channel for direct download. I must confess that most of the titles didn’t interest me at all (except Dr. Mario Online Rx, but that wasn’t available at launch), but after seeing a trailer for LostWinds via the new Nintendo Channel, I knew I’d have to give it a try. The novelty of tossing Toku around with the Wii Remote pointer function representing gusts of wind was too cool to pass up, and I’m glad to say I enjoyed every minute of the game.

That said, one aspect of this game bothered me: no one told me it was an episodic title.

Now I don’t have any inherent qualms against episodic games. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Sam & Max series, I bought Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One the day it came out and am loving it, and I eagerly await Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People‘s debut on WiiWare next month.

My issue lies with the fact that I bought LostWinds with no indication present that it wasn’t going to have an ending. I was getting into a serious groove, gaining new wind powers, becoming more skillful in my blowing-around prowess, and fighting a novel “put your newfound powers into practice” end boss, and suddenly the game goes into epilogue “To Be Continued” mode! Credits rolled just as I was really starting to enjoy the game! Witiff?

Please note that this would not have bothered me one smidgen if it had been clearly identified as part of a series on the box (er, the digital eBox). When a game starts with a cutscene talking about evils rising and a hero is revealed to stop said evils, you expect some serious evils-punching by game’s end, not another cutscene talking about how you really need to get around to that someday. Anyone that beat Golden Sun (and *sigh* Golden Sun 2) knows exactly what I’m talking about here. At least with Rain-Slicked Precipice, I know I’m in it for eighty-some-odd bucks by the time it finishes. How much will it cost me to see LostWinds through to its conclusion? And will I still be interested by the time I find out?

Oh yeah, for anyone that hasn’t yet finished LostWinds, Golden Sun, or Golden Sun 2… spoiler alert.