I’m a little late getting this review up, but it’s better late than never right? Here’s what I think of Windscape!
I received a review copy of this game from Headup Games.
Windscape is a very pretty looking game. The game starts you in a lush, green environment filled with different animals for you to fight. It runs really well on the Switch and it looks absolutely amazing in handheld mode. I think it looks a little better in hand-held than it does on my TV, but I prefer playing it with a pro controller because the Joy Cons are terrible for games that require the tiniest bit of precision if you’re not using gyro controls. Playing this game in handheld mode is… not very enjoyable to me because of the Joy Cons. I’ll get more into that later though. The lighting is pretty much non-existent on the Switch, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means. I’ve come to love this type of aesthetic in games recently and I enjoyed getting lost in this beautiful world that Magic Sandbox has built for us. The different biomes look really neat and, as I stated above, the game runs really well on the Switch. What more could you ask for?
There’s some quality music here and I like that it doesn’t overpower all of the other sounds in the game. The music is soft and in the background like it should be instead of incredibly loud. It reminds me of how Bethesda Softworks does their music in their games. I really like it. Things do ramp up when combat starts and it’s honestly excellent. When you’re in combat the music should be loud to give the player a sense of urgency. It helps that the song that plays is different when you’re in combat than when you’re out exploring the world so I know when something is trying to bite my ass off or not. I attached a nice sample of the soundtrack below for you to enjoy.
This game sounds good, doesn’t it! There is no voice acting whatsoever and the sounds in combat is what you would expect in a game like this. Average at best, but the soundtrack is where this game shines. The melody smoothly adapted to environments and conveyed a sense of joy and sadness. When I stopped playing this game I realized that I was humming the songs out loud. When I do that I know that I just listened to something special and that’s what Windscape’s soundtrack is. Special and incredibly underrated.
This game is old school. It’s a throwback to the old Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana days. It’s just in first person. It has a charm and isn’t afraid to hide behind its nostalgic roots. It relies heavily on nostalgia too and that could turn some people off because there’s nothing original about this game at all. That’s wasn’t a problem for me, but it could be for some of you and you should know that going in. The gameplay here honestly reminds me of The Elder Scrolls. You don’t have the vast amount of freedom that a game like The Elder Scrolls would give you, but the actual gameplay reminds me of those games. Meaning, it’s really clunky and simple in design. There’s a pretty good crafting system to go along with everything. Most of the time I spent in this game was cutting down trees and gathering the materials required to make a new piece of armor or fancy new weapon. I dabbled in some magic, but I mostly stuck to sword and board. Fighting enemies is simple. You press the L button to block and ZR to strike. This was super weird to me because I kept pressing R to strike and that’s the jump button so I would constantly jump in the middle of combat and laugh at my own stupidy for confusing the buttons. It’s just an odd layout for me and I never got used to it even after 30 hours of play time.
In Windscape, you play as Ida, a young girl who is sent out by her parents on a delivery, which quickly turns into something much more. The story isn’t anything to write home about. The reason why it’s in the good section is because of the NPCs I met and side quest I got to do. That’s not to say the story here is bad because I don’t think it is. I enjoyed it for what it was and I got a good nostalgia kick from it too and that’s always nice. I love the fantasy feel of this game. The world of Windscape is filled with talking bird things, creatures, and things to do and any reason I have to explore and listen to that fantastic soundtrack is one I’ll gladly take.
It Does Nothing To Set Itself Apart From The Games That Inspired It:
Windscape is a great game, but I wish it did something to set itself apart from its peers that it took so much inspiration from. That doesn’t make this game a failure though. It followed the groundwork laid by its peers to the T and the end result is something special that I think should be experienced by everyone that loves open world sandbox games. Just don’t go in expecting anything new.
I’m not going to use that one line that everyone says about difficult games. You know the one I’m talking about. It begins with a D and ends and S. I don’t need my games to be hard, but I at least want a little bit of a challenge in them. I had none of that with Windscape. Battling through a long dungeon finally being able to fight the boss at the end of it should be a rewarding experience. It is and it isn’t. Boss fights should be tough, but they’re not in this game. They just serve as ways to progress the narrative and get some cool stuff. They’re honestly not very memorable fights at all and that’s disappointing considering how good the rest of the game is.
I didn't expect to fall in love with this game. I knew it had potential because I've owned it since it was an early access title on Steam, but I never expected to fall in love with this game. It's not the best game in the genre or adds anything new to it, but it does have charm, a beautiful open world to explore, and serviceable gameplay. There is a lot to like here and if you're a fan of genre or if you love games like The Legend of Zelda I think you'll find something here worth investing your time into.