Friday, 16 September 2016 00:00

Windscape Early Access Review

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You know that feeling when you see something for the first time that excites you to explore more?

Like when you see that esoteric movie relevant to that niche field of philosophy you studied in college? Or the podcast that looks into the effects of Sumerian mythology on symbolism throughout humanity? Ok maybe these only apply to me, but I think the feeling is universal, and it happened to me here. Full disclosure: I am fascinated by islands. I am also fascinated with fantasy worlds where the “land” is floating in the sky. So when I first saw this on Steam I KNEW I would love it, I just didn’t realize how much I would love it. Unfortunately, there isn’t much content available yet, I was able to complete all available quests in under an hour, but what is present is beyond exceptional.

Windscape is a first-person action game that has many elements reminiscent of Zelda and a smidge of Elder Scrolls. The visual style, color palette, and happy-go-lucky atmosphere all work to create a vibrant, welcoming world full of potential and adventure. The graphics are unique, harkening to the past when gameplay and personality were used instead of hyper-realistic graphics. Think Ocarina of Time or Banjo-Kazooie. I’ve probably hit replay on the Windscape Overworld Music Youtube video several dozen times. It is simply beautiful and worth sitting in-game to listen to. The melodies perfectly encapsulate the whimsical charm found in every nook and cranny. The world feels brimming with adventure. There are bandit camps, abandoned logging mills, wolf caverns, bees who mercilessly attack you for simply existing, and a bird-person pirate (named Captain Yellowbeard!) who offers you a life of flying with his crew exploring the other islands.

The main plot is other ‘skylands’ are falling apart, and no one knows why.

But animals on your island are becoming aggressive, and the collective worry is that this is a precursor to your island falling apart. You play as a simple farmhand who starts off on an innocent quest to deliver a package. As they so often do, events suddenly lead to you becoming the hero(ine) to solve the blacksmith’s lack of copper and help the wayward stranger with his missing picnic basket. During all this, you are introduced to a simple yet robust crafting system. As of now, there are several recipes but due to lack of available content, I was not able to explore this aspect. Of particular note were iron weapons and fire/ice magic. Stupid hobgoblins get to throw fireballs at me I don’t know what I can’t. Combat is as easy as point-and-click with the ability to hold your mouse button to charge your attack up. The only boss that is currently available plays incredibly similar to Zelda bosses, and it works perfectly. There is currently one platforming challenge, and it was involved in the only secret I have found so far. I shot an arrow into an eye on the wall when I turned around from a dead end. Again, very Zelda-esque but still just as amazing.


The Verdict

I am personally stoked for this game. I loved my time playing it and I cannot wait for the rest of the game to be revealed. What is currently revealed already looks amazing and the developer Magic Sandbox is incredibly open with the progress of the game. I expect really good things from Windscape. I am giving Windscape 10 out of 10 with this caveat: the score is not given because what is currently available, but because what is slated to be released in future updates only adds to what is already here. From the music, to the aesthetics, to the world itself, everything breathes with passion and creativity and the updates only promise to bring more of Windscape to life.

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Collin Dowdy

Collin is just another college grad who realized how much real life gets in the way of video games. So in a valiant effort to avoid real life, Collin is taking a step beyond just watching and playing video games and is now writing about what he plays. He enjoys RPGs, strategy/grand strategy, platformers and story/puzzle games. Outside of video games, Collin goes to work and plays on his 3DS or world builds. He's always watching Twitch. It's a wonderful life.