Friday came and Windbound appeared onto the Stadia store. A heavily anticipated title for the Stadia community with the distinctive art-style stoked in a survival game. Comparisons of Zelda Breath of the Wild have been made due to the art style which lends it those comparisons. I have played the game now for a while so how did I find it?
Two things struck me as I opened up Windbound just to the title screen, the music, and the graphics. Both are stunning. The atmosphere they generate just adds to the game. Whimsical music and graphics are just lulling you into a false sense of security as the game is unforgiving. You can see this with the opening choice. There are two options to play the game. Survivalist or Storyteller.
Survivalist mode is “the Full Windbound experience”. This mode features what many people call permadeath. This means when you die you start from the beginning again and lose your equipment and progress you have made. In Windbound you do retain so small things but for all intents and purposes, you will have to start the game from the beginning. Also, note the game is procedurally generated so our footage above is likely to be different from what you get in the game.
I would recommend that most people start the game on Storyteller mode. With this mode, your inventory is saved and whatever progress you have made is saved. You will also start from the last chapter and the difficulty of enemies is reduced.
When you start into the game you are thrown onto an island and you will need to build a boat to get Kara, the main character in the game, of the island. The game has some basic tutorials in order to explain how this is done. As the game is survival you need to craft the items in the game. So you will start gathering some grass and rocks. In order to start get the materials for your boat.
The first number of islands are tutorial in that you are learning the game mechanics i.e. crafting, running, jumping, etc. As you discover more materials this opens up more crafting options. So there is a bit of a learning curve involved.
Each island can have different elements. Some can have different creatures to kill or avoid. They can also have different types of plants and vegetation to collect. There are also power-ups to collect which can increase your health and stamina. This plays a roll in the game as well as you need to find and cook food in the game to replenish these attributes.
Combat is in the camp of the tough but fair. If you take damage normally you can see why this has happened. You will need to choose your battles and its classic tale of risk vs reward. It should be noted as well you do have fall damage in the game. This needs to be considered as there are some platform game elements and you can fall and injure Kara.
Overall as I am playing through the game I am enjoying Windbound. While there are some things to we wary off i.e. what mode to choose there I am enjoying my progress in the game so far. As it is procedurally generated there will opportunities to replay the game to give some more long term value. You can pick up Windbound for $29.99 / £24.99 and if you buy it until September 10 on Stadia you receive the following items as bonuses Ancestral Attire, Ancestral Oar, and Ancestral Knife. Windbound is also available on GeForce Now.