Sunday, 15 May 2016 00:00

Talewind Exclusive Preview

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This game isn’t anywhere near early access and it’s already amazing.

From Windlimit studios comes a beautifully designed 2D platformer that is tremendously pleasing to the senses. Greenlit by Steam, this title will be making its way to the PC community eventually, but for now it’s a treat for my eyes only, and they are most definitely feasting.

The backstory is cute and simple: you’re a young boy who lives in a little village at the base of a mountain. This mountain is unique – it’s surrounded by strong winds that never stop blowing. The little village harnessed the power of the winds, utilizing them as a renewable source of energy and lived happily under the mountain for many years. On one fateful day, the villagers noticed the winds were getting gradually weaker and beginning to fade. Our young hero took it upon himself to figure out the cause of this before the winds died completely and causing the village to suffer the loss of their only energy source.

And like that, we’re off on a (literal) whirlwind adventure!

The controls are simple: WASD controls movement, space bar is jump, and “k” is a small wind attack. Pressing space bar twice allows our young hero to glide, which gives him access to hard-to-reach areas. Like most platformers, gameplay is centered around jumping, collecting items, and generally avoiding falling between platforms to a most certain death. There are enemies to fight, but you’re dead upon one touch (a la Mario style) so it’s not really a “fight” and more of a “sudden and instant death” scenario. Character design is just…so good. It’s so good. Our young hero is the very epitome of our imaginations as a child – just a small boy in regular clothes but wearing a blanket as a cape and aviator googles + headgear for that charming, old-timey feel that day dreams are made of. Enemies are beautifully illustrated as well – I’d honestly stare at them before trying to make a move because they were just so gorgeous. Props to the artist, because the design is really head and shoulders above other fantasy platform indie games!

The scenery is stunning – completely stunning.

The town’s hand-painted backgrounds are whimsical, lively, and bucolic. I just want to be absorbed into the idyllic fields and tranquil blue skies that seem to extend into eternity. Talewind’s greatest strength is in the visuals, and they are seriously a sight to behold. I just wanted to envelop myself in them; they reminded me of happier times, childhood whimsies, and simple, pure delight.

Music is fantastic – it captures the imagination and meshes well with the art-style. A perfect marriage between visuals and audio, this was a treat for the ears as well as the eyes. The music really conveyed the easy-going, childlike nature of the game that surrounded our young hero so well. I commend the devs for this level of meticulous detail-orientation and capturing the essence of the overall design.

Each level has vastly different environments – one level is a night-time magical mushroom forest with bioluminescent toadstools and mystical lightning bugs, another is a frozen wonderland filled with snow and beautifully illustrated yeti. There were one or two levels that were a bit Sonic the Hedgehog inspired, which was definitely a wonderfully welcome retro surprise. There are also some difficult to find collectibles, which absolutely delighted the collector-type gamer in me. There is definitely something here for everyone in this charming little platformer!

I was only able to play a few levels, but the levels I played were extremely polished. I think the concept is solid, the art styles are absolutely divine, and the mechanics work as they should. I mean it when I say that this title has the potential to be up there with Metalarium, Braid, and the other well-done indie games that have made serious waves in the gaming community. It’s THAT good. After playing for a few hours, I couldn’t help but want – no, CRAVE – to know what’s next. Is there more storyline? Are there other characters we’re going to learn about? Will the winds from the mountain play a bigger part in all this? I’m dying to know more!

The Verdict

The game isn’t done yet so there’s still a lot of room for improvement (the rare bug fix, etc) – that being said, the game is already so solid that there’s not much to improve upon. I am not exaggerating when I say that I cannot wait to see what happens next for Talewind and am awaiting the full release of this incredible title with bated breath!

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Heather Johnson

Heather has been playing video games ever since she can remember. Starting off as a PC gamer at age 2 with edutainment games and progressing to the NES and beyond, she has always had a love for everything gaming, PC and console. She’s carried a hand-held console in her back pocket (now purse) since the 3rd grade and is probably the only person in her mid-twenties that still enjoys street-passing. She lives in Los Angeles and currently works for Bandai in the marketing department – she doesn’t make toys, she just makes toys look good. Right now she is actively avoiding planning her upcoming wedding by playing Skyrim. Other hobbies include trying to go to the gym, watching documentaries, sleeping, and tormenting (see: showering with affection) her beloved Maine Coon, King Henry VIII. Favorite games include FFX, Katamari Damacy, Saints Row IV, Skyrim, Catherine, and Phoenix Wright. She has her phone surgically attached to her hand and is happy to help whenever possible.


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