In the past 2017 we knew the breath of the wild. Breath of the Wild came like a storm and marked a before and after in open world games. The idea of being able to explore everything that can be seen is not new, but perhaps it was this installment of the Zelda saga that best managed to synthesize free exploration in a video game. Windbound He collects the formula and distills it in his own way to offer us a most curious work that adds exploration, survival, crafting and even typical elements of a roguelite.
When taking a look at Windbound You can’t help but think of two games, coincidentally from the Hero of Time franchise: Breath of the Wild and Wind Waker. Both in the artistic section and in its mechanics you can feel that fresh breeze, whether it is sailing the seas or exploring a new and mysterious island. The most curious of all is that Windbound was born from a team of five people: 5 Lives Studios. This is the second title released, so will the work of this humble independent studio be up to the task? Let’s see it in this analysis.
The dream of a nautilus
Kara, our protagonist, is part of a nomadic fleet. For them the sea is everything: a path, a source of food, a home … However, although the sea is sometimes your hope, it can also be your downfall. When a powerful storm falls on the fleet and destroys their ship, Kara ends up shipwrecked in a mysterious archipelago. With nothing more at hand than the clothes she was wearing and a rudimentary knife, Kara must face adversity and survive, or at least that’s the idea at first, as our girl has a very different destiny.
The story of Windbound is told through your world. There is no NPC here to explain to us what is happening or what we should do, as it is the player who must interpret every bit of information that can be extracted at all times. In this way, we collaborate in preparing the mystery atmosphere that surrounds the entire title, being one of the breezes that intervenes when pushing the work forward. Despite the mystery, the vast sea in which it is navigated and the hostile creatures that threaten the survival of Kara, at no time have I felt the fear or concern that is present in other games where one of the main objectives is to stay with lifetime. And I say this to emphasize that Windbound always offers a pleasant and safe experience, no matter how many obstacles there are in the player’s path.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this game includes manufacturing mechanics of tools and other objects that help us enormously during the adventure. For this reason, it is very important to collect everything we can, check well what objects can be created at each moment and progress in the quality of them. One of the best examples of progression is boat, and perhaps the most important element and the one that should always be in our sights. The islands that we can visit are not especially large, but they are in a huge sea that we must learn to navigate and respect. The mechanics that allow us to ride the waves on board the boats that we can manufacture are wonderful, because they do not make the mistake of imitating the classic controls that we can find when controlling a car. In addition to handle the ship’s sail To move forward, Windbound forces us to befriend the wind and be one with the waves. A bad decision could destroy your beloved boat, and with it your hopes of survival.
While in the open sea we have to set a new objective in our trip and try to get there, on land Kara’s mission becomes another: collect and hunt. The collection is simple and intuitive, but the danger appears during the hunt. The knife that our beloved protagonist carries by hand is not very useful to end the life of our prey, so it is necessary (although not mandatory) build more effective weapons and with which to cover more demanding hunts. Would you rather attack from a safe distance? A bow can be a good choice, although if you run out of arrows it is useless; a slingshot is less effective, but finding ammo is much easier. Are you braver and choose to fight at close range? A good spear will be your ally, but try not to break at a critical moment!
Dancing to the sound of the wind, dancing with the waves …
Regarding the structure of the game, it is divided into five chapters, with an intermediate zone behind each one of them. To advance from one chapter to another, Kara must find and activate a kind of shrines in the style of the towers of Breath of the Wild (or like the ones in Code Lyoko, you understand me). After activating the three structures of the chapter, the path to the next one is unlocked. In some specific areas of some islands, in the sanctuaries themselves and in the intermediate areas is where Windbound drops its story that, since we compare it with Link’s first adventure in the hybrid, also focuses on what happened more than in the present itself. I must add in his favor that it is those events that are really of interest to the player. How did we get to this point? Why is Kara in this archipelago? What do nautilus have to do with all this?
Windbound offers from the start two ways to live the adventure: survival and history. As you can imagine, the second removes the elements of the first that slow down the progression so that you can enjoy the sea breeze without too much worry. Specifically, survival mode works as if it were a roguelite: When you die, you lose your progress and the islands are randomly spawned again, although you keep a few inventory items. The other option returns Kara to the beginning of the chapter without sacrificing some of her items, but she still loses her ship and everything in it! These couple of modalities are enough to adapt the work to the type of experience that each player is looking for, so Windbound manages to ride this wave.
Until now the sea has been calm, but storms are coming … Every trip has its ups and downs, and Kara’s is no less, so we have to talk about the problems of Windbound. The first and most important is that sometimes the game closes when going from one chapter to another, and if you haven’t saved the game in a while, then you can imagine what it is. Perhaps in future updates this error will be corrected, as it is purely technical. On the other hand, in the playable section we can blame it for how repetitive it is to follow the scheme to search for islands over and over again, activate « sanctuaries » and go to the next chapter, especially when you reach that point in the adventure where there really is nothing undiscovered (and it doesn’t take long to get there). In addition, although it is not a mistake, sailing upwind when our destiny is yes or yes in that direction can exhaust the patience of some.
Throughout the text I have been recounting Kara’s journey, but now it is time to talk about my journey and my experiences. After being shipwrecked on the first island, the first thing I felt was the breath of the wild (that’s why I refer so much to Link’s game); that feeling of freedom and mystery that as you go, it flows, comes and goes, like the sea itself. Tying up the dots and imagining everything that happened on those islands was not enough to push the sails of my adventure, because the desire to explore the archipelago, discover its fauna and flora, and face the obstacles that threatened my survival ended up weighing more heavily. and, above all, navigate. Build an increasingly capable boat, customize it to my liking and hoist the sails to to sail that vast and beautiful sea is really nice. My favorite parts of the trip have been those in-between zones where you have to put your sailing skills to the test and dance to the rhythm of the waves. It is true that my experience has been clouded by those errors that close the game suddenly, and that the game really lasts much longer than it takes you to discover everything it offers, but Windbound has been a ship that I do not regret having uploaded.
Windbound – An adventure that comes to fruition
Sail the mysterious ocean of Windbound, face their creatures and discover what their islands hide turns out to be a very enjoyable experience. The title comes to us in perfect Spanish, a detail that is of course appreciated. Despite having some bug and getting to repeat itself (or fall short) in its survival mechanics, the rest of the sections of the game manage to have its shortcomings forgiven. As you may have seen in the images, the art style is sublime, and this is accompanied by a minimalist soundtrack that finishes seasoning the feeling of exploration and freedom. In short, it is worth sailing the seas in Kara’s adventure.
We have analyzed Windbound thanks to a digital code provided by Koch Media. Version analyzed: 1.0.3
Set sail for your destination, sail the wide sea
Windbound manages to curdle a maritime adventure that combines survival and object manufacturing. With clear inspiration from two of the best The Legend of Zelda games, he doesn’t settle for sticking with them and sets sail to find himself (quite successfully). Although there are few technical failures and its scheme is repetitive from the second half of the game, the journey of Kara and the nautilus manages to consolidate itself as a good adventure that invites you to explore and let yourself be carried away by the sea breeze.
Sailing is a delight. Let yourself be carried away by the wind!
Its visual and sound sections are wonderful
Its survival mode makes it very replayable
You still have small bugs to fix
It becomes repetitive during the last bars of the adventure