Windbound Review (PlayStation 4)
The Forbidden Islands are Calling, Unlock their Secrets. Shipwrecked on an island, explore, adapt and navigate the land and perilous seas to stay alive.
- Big bright colorful cartoon-style graphics.
- 905.4mb download size.
- Platinum trophy.
- Two difficulties-storyteller (full inventory kept upon death/chapter progress is retained/combat is easier) or survivalist (only held items stay upon death/return to chapter 1 and standard combat)
- Invert axis and sensitivity slider.
- 3 save slots.
- Survival adventure gameplay.
- Has a Zelda vibe to it in both appearance and atmosphere.
- Left to figure it all out by yourself with occasional tutorial pop-ups and descriptions on rocks.
- Crafting model-learn new recipes and take materials from the land. Recipes generally unlock as you find certain materials.
- Hunger and stamina meters.
- Quick selection wheel for items.
- Play how you want.
- Save when you like on the menu.
- Map-uncovers as you explore the world.
- Beautiful underwater scenery.
- You, a boat, and the open sea.
- The first time picking something up will give a description pop up.
- Sneak mechanics including the ability to hide in bushes.
- The game is split into chapters.
- Day/night cycle.
- You can drown if you run out of stamina when swimming.
- Possible to upgrade your boat with sails and storage.
- The game world is made up of many islands.
- The gameplay loop is in each chapter you have 3 shells to activate and then you go to this central type space and can convert sea shards and get permanent upgrades. (not official names, it’s my name for them)
- Shrines-find these for health/stamina increases.
- Find sea shell mini shrines around the game world.
- Wind-adjust sails and tighten/loosen them to get the momentum and movement from the wind.
- Triggered shrines will emit a beam of light to help you in navigation.
- Wildlife-attack and fight with the wildlife you can see their life bar and the music changes.
- Checkpoints are far apart.
- Tutorial pop-ups feel late at times.
- Got stuck on animations or it wouldn’t animate when walking.
- The grab mechanic is sporadic and doesn’t always work.
- Combat feels a bit sloppy.
- Constantly struggling with the boat mast and wind.
- Very easy for the boat to get stuck.
- Slow pace.
- Gets repetitive.
- The bit you do in between chapters is actually dull and uneventful.
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Accessibility - 6/106/10
- Length - 7/107/10
- Fun Factor - 6/106/10
The first thing to hit you in Windbound is the graphic style, it is beautiful and one that has a Zelda breath of the wild vibe to it all. Windbound is a game about survival and building your boat. Your boat is your companion, your best friend and the one solid thing in your life as you need to scavenge materials and craft new additions to your ship so you can do things like store materials or get better handling, the art of crafting is simple enough with recipes and a clear red/green shadow outline for placement. Outside of crafting you have combat and this is a case of dodging and attacking with your chosen (crafted) weapon. The music will get more aggressive, the animal will hunt you and its game on. Crafting material is dropped upon death. This is basically the list of activities you can do outside of the game loop, the game loop is a case of finding the shrines to uncover bridges and be able to enter the skull, then you are taken into a different environment and you move on. The game loop is fine at first but once you realize this is it in terms of the said game loop, it gets tedious and very hard to motivate yourself to carry on. I mean Windbound is a survival game so everything noted so far is with an overarching mechanic of managing stamina and food levels that affect your performance and swimming, it’s really annoying for the first few hours as you struggle to find food sources or have the storage to collect and keep food. I just found the whole game very underwhelming and it needed a lot more variation. I loved the exploration but it became a chore, I liked the combat but weapon crafting was luck-based. In short, Windbound is a game trying to do something but never nails the formula and instead comes off as an almost incomplete experience.