Should you set sail on this adventure?
Embark on a personal journey and discover the history of the idyllic forbidden islands; each holding the key to a mystery and unexpected revelations. Head towards the horizon, advancing across the islands, each with their own wildlife, landscapes and challenges to face. Scavenge the island’s untamed terrain for resources that you can use to craft a full range of tools and weapons to hunt wildlife and upgrade your boat. You must set sail when resources become scarce. Your boat is your key companion on this journey, carefully craft your own custom sailing vessel to take on the treacherous waters, traversing from one island to the next.
First and foremost, Windbound is a game about survival. You gather resources, hunt, cook and craft to get closer to your goal, which essentially is take your custom boat to locations to gather keys, then go to another location to use them before being whisked away to a new area with new islands where you essentially repeat the process, but more tools and resources become available while the challenge raises too.
There is a story of sorts, but it’s thin and only told through brief text lines as you pick up the keys or through murals, but it does enough to get you going. The game looks a lot like Wind Waker/Breath of the Wild with its visuals, but the gameplay is very different to a Zelda game and while it’s not the hardest survival game out there, it can still be fairly challenging if not prepared.
Sailing itself is sadly, a bit of a mixed bag. Without a sail you can easily get around, but it’s a slow process while with a sail might get you to your destination quicker, you are at the mercy of the wind and don’t have the level of control you do than when you don’t equip the sail. Personally, I ditched the sail and while it took longer to get around, it was easier overall. Hunting is essential for survival as you’ll need the meat to cook and animal parts to craft new items, although there is actually a trophy for not killing animals if you so choose. I’m just saying it’ll make things a lot harder if you do decide to try that.
I think the problem with Windbound is that while the game gets tougher, the main actual objective just repeats over to the next chapter, which becomes quite repetitive after a while. Not to say that the game isn’t highly enjoyable but repeating the same task over and over does wear a bit thin after a while.
The game has the cel-shaded style of a Wind Waker/BOTW game and looks superb, while running at a steady framerate. Load times were a bit on the long side and while the game only has a small soundtrack for key moments, those music tracks are amazing.
Windbound is a decent survival game, but it runs out of ideas quickly and puts them on repeat, becoming repetitive quickly. It’s a shame as it looks and runs great, though the sailing itself is also a bit of a letdown.