- Genres : Adventure, Action
- Publisher : Koch Media
- Developer : 5 Lives
- Players : 1
- Consoles : Nintendo Switch
- Languages : Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese
- Release date : Aug 28, 2020
I finally got to play Windbound! I am so happy! I had waited for it for a long time and I really got hooked during the trailers that represented the game like being in the same spirit as Zelda Breath of the Wild. Afterwards, I learned a little more about the game: Windbound would be a survival type of game. This information really rejoiced me, because I love this game style. So I went ahead and bought the game as soon as it got out in order to be able to present it to you and give you my opinion about it.
Presentation of Windbound
Windbound is a survival game that takes place in an open world with a very present part of navigation in the sea. You play Kara, a navigator who following a storm in the sea will find herself at the heart of an unknown archipelago: the lost islands.
She will have to explore those islands to discover their stories. The story is the one of her ancestries who were forgotten a long time ago. It’s only way for her to find the way back to her tribe. The story is suggested and I invite you to watch the trailer to learn a little more about the game.
The game will take place in five acts that will reveal little by little the small bits of this story to finish by unveiling a fresco retracing the entire story. The five acts will take place in the same way: Kara will find herself on an island or on her boat (boat that you will have built) then you will have to look for three artefacts spread on the islands surrounding you. At the end you will have to bring them back on a particular island to finalise the act you are in and go to the next.
Each act will put your navigational skills to the test during a journey with a stormy sea with reefs and all sorts of rocks. This passage is used as a transition between each act and allows you to gather a blessing. You will have the choice between two of them which will be randomly selected, giving you a sometime significant bonus. It will take about 1h30 to finalise each act.
How does a Windbound act take place?
In the first act, you wake up on a deserted island with only your knofe as a weapon/tool. Quickly you find an enchanted paddle. From then on, you can build a boat thanks to different materials that you find on the island you’re currently on. For the following acts you will reappear on that boat.
The boat is of upmost importance in the story, it is your safe place, but also the only mean of transport that will allow you to go from one island to another.
You will also have to be careful not to die of starvation. On each of the island, you will find food, be it under the form of animals, mushrooms or berries. You will have to craft weapons to defend yourself or hunt the animals of the islands and learn how to make a fire to cook your meat. Eating raw meat will make you sick.
Kara will also be able to weave baskets or bags in order to allow you to transport more objects. You will then be able to stock your stuff on your boat. A true survival game actually!
You will have a health and an endurance gauge that will refill themselves when you eat and empty themselves with every effort or when a monster will touch you. The only other dimensions of survival missing are the thirst and sleep needs.
How does one survive on a forgotten archipelago?
The islands of the archipelago shelter no human, or don’t shelter any human anymore, but they are abundant of materials and animals more or less dangerous. Each island, each archipelago, will be randomly generated by the game proposing a whole new exploration with each game. You will have to survive by adapting to what you find each time. I did note that the generation of the island is really well executed because none of the island has inaccessible places that could block the player in its progression or incoherencies.
Your boat will be your safe heathen during the entire adventure. It will allow you to store objects, because your bag will quickly run out of space. You will also be able to improve it by going from a simple straw raft to a wooden double hulled boat… It is of the upmost importance to improve your boat to finish the navigation paths at the end of each chapter. And the wooden sail is sooo cool!
As you go further in your discoveries and materials, you can fabricate more and more equipment, which allows you to confront your enemies: axe, hammer, spear, sling, bow… they will become stronger and stronger as numerous as you advance in the chapters of the story.
The general difficulty of the game will become more and more intense as the chapters go, forcing you to focus only on two things: find the artefacts as quickly as possible and survive until the end of the chapter. It’s really nice to feel more and more in danger in a survival game when you have reached a certain form of comfort thanks to your weapons and your boat.
A perfectible gameplay
Windbound is really a game that I loved! The survival side in an open world is really nice and graphically it is very nice with a not largely diversified faun, but largely sufficient. The cards are not empty and the islands are different each time. What really disturbed me were those navigation phases… Although the navigational gameplay is well thought out: you must control the tension on your sail and its partial or total deployment so as not to overturn your boat or simply control your speed. The only problem comes from this fucking wind that never blows in the right way… As such it is not rare to find yourself completely stopped between three islands…
Also, I would have liked to have the possibility to use my paddle even when my boat has a sail. That would have made the docking phases easier and avoid the troubles of a wind not blowing in the correct direction.
As for the rest, the gameplay stays perfectible during the combat phases as for the crafting phases… Mostly for the crafts concerning the boat: development or additional hulls. You will have to place your character correctly in order to do the craft (the module appears in green). But personally I got over those little inconveniences to enjoy the game and the experience it proposes us to its fullest.
In order to enjoy it fully, I also recommend you to save your game before going through the “light doors” of each chapter. I had 4 game crashes with one rollback to my last save while going through those doors. The first time I lost 1h30 of game. This little inconvenience gave me a new habit: the compulsive saves as soon as I arrive or leave an island. I was annoyed after the first crash! But by saving just before going through a door, it become a less annoying bug that will be certainly be fixed soon.
I really loved Windbound! It is the type of game that I really like to play! I must have spent between 6 and 10 hours on that game to complete the story mode a first time. I might test the survival but a little later. The graphics, the scenario and the open survival game mode really rejoiced me! I have a few reproach to make for example you cannot fish and I would have liked a softer mode to let me explore each archipelago as much as I wanted.
Windbound still suffers from a few bugs and the gameplay may make more than one of you angry. But personally, I find that it would be unfortunate to not play this game. Even more for a few bugs that, I am sure, will be quickly fixed. I tested this game between the 28th August 2020 and 1st September 2020).
If you like survival games and have the patience to get other the few bugs the game has, Windbound is for you! I really spent an excellent time on this game even though I was a bit annoyed during the navigation phases!