Developped by 5 Lives Studios and published by Deep Silver, Windbound is a survival game available today August 28, 2020 for PC, Xbox, Stadia, PC (Steam, Epic Game Store, GOG and Humble Bundle) and Nintendo Switch. Our full test!
Windbound, le test !
In this adventure filled with assumed Breath of the Wild inspirations, you will play as Kara, mysteriously stranded on an archipelago following a violent storm. It’s been a few days now that we have Windbound at THM Magazine, and it’s high time for us to give you our full review. Are you going to be tough enough to survive and uncover the secrets of this highly inspired adventure? the latest open-world Zelda and Wind Waker?
We all inevitably thought about it when looking at the image used for the game’s communication and even more during the first trailer. Yes, Windbound is a Breath of the Wild in spirit, graphic style, bestiary, fauna, flora, and a Windwaker in the use of the boat (and the wind). However, borrowing all these codes does not make him a poor copy, on the contrary!
Windbound is a rogue-lite. You will start on the first island, with no resources other than your knife and will have to start over if you die. To preserve the discovery if you decide to get the game, there will be no extensive explanations, but only on how its mechanics work.
Kara controls herself naturally, she can climb, walk, attack, swim and run. All of its abilities are dependent on your stamina gauge. This gauge is to be cherished because it goes down very quickly. For this, it will be necessary to hunt, eat, nibble, make, pick, harvest and even cook!
It is also possible to switch to “confrontation” mode and thus adopt side steps (exactly as in BOTW). The fights seem to be the weak point of the game. Blame it on a bit random coding and hitbox sometimes. Several times I managed to get rid of a tough enemy by climbing on a rock, even very low, making me then out of reach. I just had to draw my bow and shoot my arrows at him.
Moreover, Kara masters archery to perfection. She knows how to make her weapon and her ammunition. Windbound’s strong point is the aiming system. Inertia, wind, and gravity will impact your shots. Exhilarating! Inventory management requires adaptation time by choosing the assigned keys. It really is a bit confusing.
Less funny, the game presents collision bugs, inconsistencies in the behavior of enemies. Nothing prohibitive (except when you kill a powerful enemy and that one disappears in the second when you want to recover the lot…) but sometimes frustrating.
It’s not the man who goes to sea …
Ah the boat… To conquer the archipelago, you will progress zone by zone, the latter being separated by the ocean. Your companions will be your boat and the wind. The resources collected will allow you to craft it, give it passive protections, modify its wind resistance, its storage and its design will be yours.
All is not rosy though, some waves stronger than others may make you run aground and start over! The spirit is indeed “Wind Waker”. On the other hand, you will have had enough of this music that will play every time you go to sea… Tatatin!
Visually some areas are truly stunning, the use of mist, the shimmering colors and the overall look of Windbound are enchanting. The soundtrack is rather simplistic but is sufficient for this adventure which is meant to be minimalist.
While it’s inevitable to mention, it’s a good idea not to constantly compare Windbound to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The means are not the same, the type of game and the development either, and in the end, everything (or almost) separates them. Rather see Windbound as a tribute. After all, we always take inspiration from the best, don’t we?